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Full text of "Palestine under the Moslems; a description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500. Translated from the works of the mediaeval Arab geographers"

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of tbe 

of Toronto 

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The Department of Oriental 

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1900 L 



H Description of Ssria ant) tbe 1bol Olanfc 

FROM A.D. 650 TO 1500. 


























IT is the object of the present work to translate and thus render 
available the mass of interesting information about Palestine 
which lies buried in the Arabic texts of the Moslem geographers 
and travellers of the Middle Ages. The materials, both printed 
and manuscript, are ample, as will be seen from the list of authori- 
ties set forth in the Introduction ; hardly any attempt, however, has 
hitherto been made to render the contents of these Arabic texts 
available to the English reader. Some few of the works I quote 
have, it is true, been translated either in whole or in part, into 
Latin, French, or German ; but as far as I am aware, no Orientalist 
has as yet undertaken to translate, systematize, and bring into 
comparison and chronological order, all the various accounts given 
by the Arab geographers of the cities, Holy Places, and districts of 
Palestine and Syria. 

These provinces of the Byzantine Empire were conquered by 
the Arab hordes within a few years of the death of Muhammad 
and, except for the interruption caused by the occupation of the 
Holy Land by the Crusaders, the country has remained under the 
rule of the Moslems down to the present day. Before the close 
of the third century after the Flight corresponding with the ninth 
of the Christian era the science of geography had already begun 
to be studied among the learned of Islam. The science, besides 
being theoretically expounded in their schools, was practically 
treated of in the numerous Arab " Road Books," since the pilgrim- 
age to Mecca made every Moslem perforce a traveller once at 
least during the course of his life. To the diaries of some of these 

viii PREFACE. 

pilgrims, whether coming from the western lands of Spain, or 
the further east of Persia and beyond who visited Syria and 
Jerusalem on the journey to or from the Hijjaz we owe the 
detailed and graphic descriptions of the Holy City and Damascus, 
and the Province of Syria, during the Middle Ages, which occur 
in the travels of such men as Nasir-i-Khusrau the Persian, Ibn 
Jubair the Spaniard, and Ibn Batutah the Berber. 

It may be useful briefly to indicate the method I have adopted 
in carrying through my work. In dealing with the Arab writers, 
I have been careful to give in all cases an exact reference 
to the text from which the translation has been made, in order 
that those who might question my rendering should be able 
without loss of time to refer to the original. I may be allowed to 
point out that all the information contained in the present volume 
has been obtained at first hand, for though I have been careful 
to consult the works of other Orientalists who have translated 
some of the texts I quote, the translations now published I have 
in every case made myself from the Arabic or Persian originals. 
In dealing with disputed points relating to the position of the 
Holy Places in Jerusalem, I have briefly stated the conclusions 
which I thought were to be deduced from the accounts given by 
the Moslem writers of the foundation and history of the various 
edifices. Theories in respect to the position of the Holy Places, 
however, form but a minor portion of my work, which has been 
to translate in full, and, where needful, annotate, the texts I had 
before me. I am in hopes that others may be able to build with 
the bricks I have thus fashioned, and again that from other 
printed texts and MSS., similar to those from which my materials 
have been drawn, other workers will bring to light further in- 
formation that will correct and enlarge what has been gathered 
together in these pages. 

Four years have now elapsed since I began my work with the 
translation of Mukaddasi, during an autumn and winter spent at 
Haifa, under Mount Carmel, in Palestine. The result of four 
years' labour is perhaps scanty. Those, however, who have ex- 
perience of the labour of searching and collating Arabic MSS. 
or even the work with printed texts as the basis for translation 


will bear me witness that the task is long, and the search often 
to be repeated before any satisfactory result is obtained. It is 
impossible to skim an Arabic book, and with every care the eye 
tires, and, passing over, often fails to note at the first reading the 
passage that is sought for. 

In bringing my labours to a conclusion, I have many to thank 
for aid afforded me in collecting and annotating the materials 
which form the groundwork of the present volume. In the first 
place, I am under a debt of gratitude for the courtesy and liberality 
with which the librarians of the great public libraries of Paris, 
Munich, London, and Oxford, have answered my demands for 
access to the treasures in their charge. 

The regulations of the foreign libraries are more liberal in 
the matter of loan than is the case at present with us at the 
British Museum and at the Bodleian. Under the guarantee 
of a letter of introduction, given me by the late Lord Lyons, 
at the time our Ambassador at Paris, M. Delisle, director of 
the Bibliotheque National?, allowed me to borrow and keep 
at my own house during many months, for the purposes of 
copying and collating, a number of Arabic MSS. belonging to 
the Paris Library, which I needed for my work on Suyuti. 
M. Schefer, the well-known Orientalist, who is at the head of the 
Ecole des Langues Orientates Vivantes at Paris, also allowed me to 
carry away on loan, and keep during the greater part of the winter 
of 1886-87, a number of printed books from the library of the 
Ecole, some of which I should with extreme difficulty have other- 
wise procured, since many of the texts I required are already out 
Of print. To both these gentlemen my heartiest thanks are due. 
I \ieed hardly point out how great was the boon they conferred on 
me\ in thus allowing me to carry away books and MSS. for perusal 
in tr.e quiet of my own study ; in so doing sparing me the labour 
of copying and collating the texts amid the interruptions and the 
incessant coming and going unavoidable in the reading-room of a 
great public library. 

As regards the Royal Library at Munich, too, I am deeply 
indebted to the courtesy of Dr. Laubmann, the director, and his 
assistants. On two occasions, during the vacation, when the 


library is closed to the general public, an exception was made in 
my favour though I came as a perfect stranger to these gentle- 
men and free access was granted me to search and use the 
magnificent collection of Oriental manuscripts and printed books 
that is found here. 

In regard to the British Museum and the Bodleian, I can only 
express my acknowledgments to the various curators and officials 
of these two national libraries, for the facilities afforded me in 
there consulting books which the illiberal regulations of these 
establishments render unavailable to students outside the walls of 
their respective reading-rooms. 

To friends and critics of my former publications I am indebted 
for corrections, emendations, and many valuable hints. In the 
first place, I have to thank Professor de Goeje, of Leiden, for the 
trouble to which he put himself in sending me a long letter filled 
with friendly criticism of my translation of Mukaddasi's Description 
of Palestine and Syria. To the contents of his letter is largely 
due the revision I have made in the present translation. Colonel 
Sir Charles Wilson and Major Conder, R.E., have both most 
generously given me many learned and useful notes on Mukaddasi, 
Nasir-i-Khusrau, and Suyuti ; and the former I have further to 
thank for his paper on the "Gates of the Noble Sanctuary at 
Jerusalem," of which I have made a liberal use. Lastly, though 
his name appears but rarely in my notes, I owe a debt of 
gratitude to Professor Hayter-Lewis for his book on the Holy 
Places of Jerusalem^ which I have found invaluable at many 
points of my present work. His practical knowledge of archi- 
tecture and the personal inspection he has given to the buildings 
and sites under discussion, together with the fact that Professor 
Hayter-Lewis has no pet theory to support, render his criticisms 
and conclusions of the highest possible value. 

A few words must be added on the system of transliteration of 
Arabic names employed throughout the following pages. In this 
I have made no attempt, by the use of letters with points or bars 
beneath, to attain absolute accuracy, and many inconsistencies will 
doubtless be discovered by my critics. Nearly all the Arabic place- 
names, however, will be found printed in Arabic letters in the 


index, and this I deemed was necessary and useful for purposes 
of etymology ; while, at the same time, it has dispensed with the 
use of dotted-letters in my text, or the adoption of a complicated 
system of transliteration. 

In regard to dates, unless specially noted to the contrary, the 
years are given according to the Christian era. In the translations 
and elsewhere it has often been necessary to give the year accord- 
ing to the era of the Hijrah, and the corresponding year A.D. has 
then been added in brackets. It need hardly be pointed out that 
when two dates occur side by side e.g., 691 (72) the higher 
figure is the year A.D., the lower the year A.H. 

In the second part of my work, which contains in alphabetical 
order the translation of all the notices I have been able to find in 
the Arab geographers of the towns, villages, and other places 
throughout the Province of Syria and Palestine, I have thought it 
well to add the distances in "miles," or " marches," "stages," 
and " days," which the various authorities give, as lying between 
neighbouring points These distances will in some cases fix 
doubtful positions, and in others will serve to mark the lines of 
communication and the high-roads of commerce in use during the 
Middle Ages, and in the era of the Crusades. 

With so many dates, so many foreign names, and such a multi- 
tude of references as crowd my pages, though I have done my 
best to correct the proofs, many errors must necessarily have 
crept in. I shall feel most grateful to any reader who will point 
these out to me, and I shall hope, should a second edition be 
called for, to profit by the criticisms and corrections of those who 
may find occasion to consult these pages. 

G. LE S. 


January, 1890. 









The name Ash Shdm Physical features Climate Products Manners 
and customs Festivals The Watch-stations of the coast. 

Territorial Divisions: The Junds or Military Districts Jund 
Filastin The Tih, or Desert of the Wanderings The Jifar Jund 
al Urdunn The Ghaur Jund Dimashk The Ghutah of Damascus, 
the Hauran, and Bathaniyyah, Jaulan, Jaidiir, and Hulah The Balka 
Ash Sharah Al Jibal Jund Hims Jund Kinnasrin Jund al 
'Awasim The Thughiir The Nine " Kingdoms " of Syria. 

Tribute and 1 axes Weights and Measures . . . 14 51 



Rivers: The Jordan and its tributaries The rivers of the coast The 
rivers of Damascus The Orontes Rivers of the northern provinces. 

Lakes: The Dead Sea The Lake of Tiberias The Hulah 
Damascus Lakes Lakes of Hims and of Afamiyyah Lakes of 

Mountains: Sinai Mount Hor The Mount of Olives Mountain- 
chains of Palestine : Ebal and Gerizim, Jabal 'Amilah The Jaulan 
hills Lebanon mountains Mountains round Damascus Hermon 
Jabal al Lukkam ...... 52 82 





Names of the Holy City Advantages of Jerusalem Fertility Position 
Territory of the Holy City. 

The Mosque at Aksa : The Prophet's Night Journey The origin of 
the Mosque al Aksa 'Omar's early building and that of 'Abd al 
Malik Earthquake of the year 130 (746), and restoration of the 
mosque by Al Mansur and Al Mahdi The technical meaning of the 
term Masjid, or Mosque Mukaddasi's description of the Aksa in 985 
The Talisman and the Maksurahs Earthquakes of 1016 and 1034 
Inscriptions relating to repairs Description of the Aksa by Nasir- 
i-Khusrau in 1047 Dimensions of the mosque The Crusades 
The mosque given over to the Templars Description by Idrisi and 
'All of Herat Saladin's reconquest of Jerusalem and restoration of 
the Aksa in 1187 Description by Mujir ad Din in 1496 Modern 

The Dome of the Rock : The Rock The dome built over it by 
'Abd al Malik in 691 Mr. Fergusson's theory disproved 'Abd al 
Malik's great inscription Al Mamun's inscription on the doors 
Description of the dome by Ibn al Fakih in 903 Arrangement of 
the piers and pillars Istakhri and Ibn Haukal's description That 
of Mukaddasi, 985 The earthquake of 1016 and the inscriptions 
recording repairs Nasir-i-Khusrau's visit in 1047 The fall of the 
great lantern in 1060 The Crusaders and the Templum Domini 
Temple-churches and Rafael's picture of the Sposalizio Idrisi's 
account in 1154 'Ali of Herat in 1173 ; the iron railing round the 
Rock, and other details Pieces of the rock taken by the Crusaders 
as relics Saladin's restoration His great inscription in the Dome 
Ibn Batutah's visit in 1355 Destruction of the Cupola by fire in 
1448 Suyuti's description of the Footprint of the Prophet, the Cave, 
and other marvels Mujir ad Din's measurements . . 83137 


JERUSALEM (continued}. 

Traditional Accounts : 'Omar's finding of the Rock The Service insti- 
tuted by the Khalif 'Abd al Malik. 

The Dome of the Chain : Minor domes The platform and stair- 
waysThe Court and the Haram Area The Cradle of Jesus and 
Stables of Solomon Minor buildings Minarets . . 138172 


JERUSALEM (continued). 


The Gates of the Haram Area The Colonnades Size of the Haram 
Area The Tanks and Pools. 

The Church of the Resurrection : The Miracle of the Holy Fire 
The Garden of Gethsemane The Tomb of the Virgin Pater Noster 
Church and Bethany The Church of the Ascension and of the 
Jacobites The Church of Sion and Gallicantus. 

City Gates: The Castle Wadi Jahannum and the Tomb of 

The Plain, As S&hirah : The Pool of Siloam The Well of Job- 
Cavern of Korah . . . ..... .. ^^ 173 223 



Description by Mukaddasi in 985 A.D. The Great Mosque Mosaics- 
City Gates Other accounts The rivers of Damascus Villages 
round the City The Ghautah, or Plain, of Damascus The various 
water-courses The Hill of Jesus Ibn Jubair's description of the 
City and Mosque in 1184 The ascent of the Great Dome The two 
descriptions of the Clepsydra Ibn Batutah's description in 1355 
Shrines Suburbs Traditions Burning of the Mosque by 
Timur-Leng . . . . .... . 224 273 



Ar Rakim and the Cave of the Sleepers Zttghar (Zoar, Segor), the Cities 
of Lot, and the Legend of Lot's daughters^/ Kalt and the Well 
of the Leaf Urim and the Ancient Temple 'Ain al Jdrah and 
the Menhir Ba'albakk and the Great Stones Bait Lahm (Beth- 
lehem) and the Basilica of Constantine An Ndsirah (Nazareth) and 
the Wonderful Tree . . . . . . 274302 





Ar Ramlah, founded by the Khalif Sulaiman The White Mosque 
Hebron: The Tombs of the Patriarchs Visits to the Cave of Mach- 
pelah Invention of the Tomb of Joseph. Acre ('Akkah) : Construc- 
tion of the Port by Ibn Tulun. Tiberias (Tabariyyah) : The Thermal 
Springs and Baths The Tomb of David . . 303 341 



Tyre (Sur). Sidon (Saida). Tripoli (Tarabulus, or Atrabulus) : The Old 
and the New Town The Castles of the Assassins. Hints (Emessa) : 
The Talisman against Scorpions. Hamah (Hamath) : The Ancient 
Castle. Aleppo (Halab) : Ibn Butlan's Description The Castle. 
Antioch (Antakiyyah) : Christian Churches and Convents Descrip- 
tion by Ibn Butlan The Great Storm of the Year 1050 A.D. 
Tradition of Habib an Najar. Tarsus : The Frontier Fortress, and 
the Garrison ....... 342 378 



SYRIA ... .... 379-556 

APPENDIX. Note on the builder of the great Aksa Mosque . . 557 

INDEX 559-604 



CHAIN . . . ... . Frontispiece 

TION OF AL MUKADDASI IN 985 A.D. . to face 99 
TION OF NASIR-I-KHUSRAU IN 1047 A.D. . to face 106 



CHAIN AT THE PRESENT DAY . . . to face 114 


NASIR-I-KHUSRAU, IN 1047 A.D. . . .126 


NASIR-I-KHUSRAU, 1047 A.D. . . . to face 150 




ANCIENT DOUBLE GATE . . . to face 181 






OF THE HARAM AREA. . . . to face 183 


OF THE HARAM AREA . . . to face 184 


AT THE PRESENT DAY .... to face 226 


GEOGRAPHERS ..... to face 14 


985 1052 A.D. . . . . to face 83 


Dates in brackets refer to the years of the Hijrah. 

A.D. 632, June (A.H. n). Death of Muhammad, Abu Bakr Khalh. 
634, Aug. (13). 'Omar Khalif. 

,, 634, Sept. (13). Greeks defeated on the Yarmuk (Hieromax). 
635 (14). Capitulation of Damascus. Defeat of Greeks at 

Fihl (Pella). Jordan Province reduced. 

636(15). Emessa and Antioch taken. Reduction of Northern 
Syria. Defeat of Greeks at Ajnadain. Cities of Pales- 
tine from Gaza to Nabulus taken. Capitulation of 

639 (18). Mu'awiyah Governor of Syria. 
644 (24). 'Othman Khalif. 
656 (35). 'Ali Khalif. 
66 1 (40). Hasan succeeds 'Ali, but abdicates in favour of 

Mu'awiyah, first Khalif of the House of Omayyah. 
66 1 750. Fourteen Omayyad Khalifs reigning at Damascus, 
viz. : 

Mu'awiyah I., A.D. 66 1 (41). Yazid I., 680 (60). 
Mu'awiyah II., 683 (64). Marwan I., 683 (64). 'Abd 
al Malik, 685 (65). Al Walid I,, 705 (86). Sulaiman, 
715 (96). 'Omar ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz, 717 (99). Yazid II., 
720 (101). Hisham, 724 (105). Al Walid II., 743 (125). 
Yazid III., 744 (126). Ibrahim. Marwan II., 744 (127) ; 
defeated and slain A.D. 750 (132). 

750 (132). First of the Abbaside Dynasty, As Saffah Khalif, 
Baghdad becomes the seat of their Government. 
Thirty-seven Khalifs in all, from A.D. 750 to 1258 



The first fifteen whose sovereignty was acknowledged in 

Syria were : 

As Saffah A.D. 750 (132). Al Mansur, 754 (136). Al Mahdi, 
775 (158). Al Hadi, 785 (169). Ar Rashid, 786 (170). 
Al Amin, 809 (193). Al Mamun, 813 (198). Al 
Mu'tasim, 833 (218). Al Wathik, 842 (227). Al Muta- 
wakkil, 847 (232). Al Muntasir, 861 (247). Al Musta'in, 
862 (248). Al Mu'tazz, 866 (251). Al Muhtadi, 869 
(255). Al Mu'tamid, 870 (256). From A.D. 892 to 
1258 twenty-two Khalifs who, for the most part, were 
only acknowledged as the spiritual sovereigns of the 
Muslims in Syria. 
A.D. 878 (264). Ahmad ibn Tulun, Independent Governor of 

Egypt, gains possession of Syria, which remains in the 

power of the Tulunide Governors of Egypt, viz. : 

Ahmad ibn Tulun, A.D. 868 (254) Khumarawaih, 883 (270). 
Jaish Abu-1 'Asakir, 895 (282). Harun, 896 (283), to 

A.D. 904 (292). 

906 (293). Damascus and other towns of Syria plundered 

during the inroad of the Karmathians. 

,, 934 969 (323 358). Ikhshidi Princes of Egypt hold 
Damascus with Southern Syria and Palestine, viz. : 

Muhammad al Ikhshid, A.D. 934 (323). Abu-1 Kasim, 946 
(334). '^,960(349). Kafur, 966 (355). Abu-1 Fawaris 
Ahmad, 968 (357). 

j} 944 1003 (333 394). Hamdani Princes of Aleppo hold the 
Districts of Northern Syria, viz. : 

Saif ad Daulah, A.D. 944 (333). Sa'ad ad Daulah, 967 (356). 

Sa'id ad Daulah, 991 (381). 

9 6 9 (35 8 )- A1 Mu'izz, fourth Fatimite Khalif, gains possession 
of Egypt, and drives the Ikhshidis out of Southern Syria 
and Palestine. 

Fourteen Fatimite Khalifs of Egypt, viz. : 
Al Mahdi, A.D. 909 (297). Al Kaim, 934 (322). Al Mansur, 
945 (334)- Al Mu'izz, 952 (341). Al 'Aziz, 975 (365). 
Al Hakim, 996 (386). Adh Dhahir, 1020 (411). Al 
Mustansir, 1035 (427). Al Musta'ali, 1094 (487). Al 
Amir, 1101 (495). Al Hafiz, 1130 (524). Adh Dhafir, 
1149 (544). Al Faiz, 1154 (549)- Ai Adid, 1160 (555). 
1070 (463). Alp Arslan, the Saljuk, conquers Aleppo and the 
cities of Northern Syria, in the name of the Abbaside 


Khalif of Baghdad, Al Kaim. Ansuz (or Atsiz), the 

Turkoman, conquers Jerusalem, and afterwards Tiberias 

and Damascus with their territories, in the name of the 

Abbaside Khalifs. 
A.D. 1091 (484). ll Ghazi and Sukman, sons of Ortok, Governors 

of Jerusalem. 
1096 (489). Jerusalem retaken by the Fatimite General of 

Al Musta'ali. 

1098(491). Antioch and Ma'arrah taken by the Crusaders. 
1099, July (492). Jerusalem conquered by Godfrey de Bouillon. 
Latin Kings of Jerusalem, viz. : 
Godfrey, 1099; Baldwin I., iioo; Baldwin II., 1118; Fulk, 

1131 ; Baldwin III., 1144. 
1147. Second Crusade; 1148, failure of Siege of Damascus; 

1 153, Ascalon taken. 

JI 54 (549)- Nur ad Din Zanki, Sultan of Damascus. 
1169 (565). Saladin, his Lieutenant in Egypt; 1171 (566), 

Saladin proclaims the supremacy of the Abbasides, and 

suppresses the Fatimite Khalifate of Egypt. 
Latin Kings of Jerusalem (continued) : 
Almeric, 1162; Baldwin IV., 1173; Baldwin V., 1186; Guy 

de Lusignan, ii86to 1187. 
1174 (569). Death of Nur ad Din; Saladin takes possession 

of Damascus. 

1187, July (583). Defeat of Crusaders at Hattin ; Saladin re- 
conquers Jerusalem. 
1188 1192. Third Crusade; 1191, Richard Cceur de Lion 

and Philippe Auguste reconquer Acre. 
IJ 93 (5 8 9)- Death of Saladin ; he is succeeded by his three 

sons : Al Afdal, at Damascus ; Al 'Aziz, at Cairo ; Adh 

Dhahir, at Aleppo. 

1193. Fourth Crusade, loss of Jaffa. 
1196 (592). Al Malik al 'Adil, brother of Saladin, becomes 

Sultan of Damascus. 

1204. Fifth Crusade, Latin Empire of Constantinople. 
1218. Sixth Crusade, conquest of Damietta. 
1229. Emperor Frederick II. obtains Jerusalem by treaty 

from Sultan Kamil of Egypt ; ten years' truce. 


A.D. 1240. Seventh Crusade, Richard Earl of Cornwall. 
1244. Jerusalem sacked by the Kharizmians. 
1245. Eighth Crusade, St. Louis IX. takes Damietta. 
1250 (648). Eibek, Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. 

From 1250 to 1390 twenty-five Mamluk (Bahrite) sultans of 

Egypt, to whom Syria was dependent. 
,, 1260 1277 (658-676). Hulagu, grandson of Jengis Khan, 

the Mongol, seizes Damascus and Northern Syria. The 

Mongols are beaten at 'Am Jalud by Sultan Kutuz, of 

Egypt, who regains possession of Syria. 
,, 1260(658). Baibars, Sultan of Egypt; 1265, captures 

Caesarea, 'Athlith, Haifa and Arsuf ; 1266, takes Safed ; 

1268, takes Jaffa, Shakif (Beaufort), and Antioch. 
,, 1279 (678). Sultan Kala'un of Egypt. Campaign in Syria, 

sack of Tripoli. 
,, 1290 (689). Sultan Salah ad Din Khalil captures Acre, Tyre, 

Bairut and Sidon. 
1390 (792). Sultan Barkuk. 

From 1390 to 1516 twenty-four Mamluk (Burjite) sultans of 

Egypt, to whom Syria was nominally dependent. 
1400 (803) Timur-Leng conquers Hamah, Hims and Ba'al- 

bakk ; 1401, takes Damascus and burns the greater part 

of the city. 
,, 1516 (922). Syria and Egypt conquered by Sultan Selim, of 



Page 27, line i6,for " Mitelene," read " Melitene." 
Page 36, line iQ,for " Al Karashiyyah," read " Al Kurashiyyah." 
Page 37, line 36, for " Armoricum," read " Amorium." 
Page 56, line 9, before " Khumaruwaih," <& " the. " 
Page 81, line 9, for " Jabal al Khalt," read " Jabal al Khait." 
Page 92, line 2. See note to this, Appendix, p. 557. 
Page 489, line 7, for " Al Kuraishiyyah," read " Al Kurashiyyah." 
Page 499, heading and line 8, for "MITELENE," read " MELITENE." 
Page 544, line 26, the paragraph on TARTUS (TORTOSA) should be added 
to what is given on p. 395, under the heading ANTARTUS. 




FOR purposes of reference a list is here given of the Arab 
geographers and historians whose works are quoted in the follow- 
ing pages. In addition a short biographical summary is prefixed 
to the indication of the edition of the Arabic text from which the 
translations have been made. Further information concerning the 
various authorities and their works will generally be found in the 
prefaces of the editions quoted in the present work. 

The earliest extant Arab books on geography and history date 
from the ninth century A.D., for it will be remembered that the 
Muslims did not begin to write books until fully two centuries 
had elapsed after the era of the Flight. From this period, however, 
that is, from about the middle of the ninth century and down to 
the end of the fifteenth of the Christian era, the names of authors 
follow each other at very short intervals, and the list shows over a 
score of writers, all Muslims, and nearly all writing in Arabic, who 
describe for us, sometimes in considerable detail, the various 
provinces of Syria and Palestine. 

The list is long, but it should be stated that in many cases we 
have not, in the works here named, exclusively the results of 
personal observation or information at first hand. Arab authors 


have plagiarized, each from his predecessor, to a very remarkable 
degree ; neither is the debt always duly acknowledged. Each 
tried to make his work as complete as possible by incorporating 
therein all he could gather from previous writers, adding some- 
thing from personal observation when the author himself happened 
to have visited the places described. This constant plagiarism, 
though it tends to decrease the amount of new information, is, in 
one way, not without its value, since by a comparison of the 
borrowed texts we are enabled to correct the mistakes of copyists 
and fill in many lacunae. 

The following is the list of our authorities : 

1. Ibn Khurdadbih. This writer was a Persian by birth, as 
his father's name shows, for Khurdad-bih signifies in old Persian 
Good Gift of the Sun (as the Greeks would have said, Heliodorus], 
Ibn Khurdadbih was born about the commencement of the third 
century of Hijrah (corresponding to the ninth of our era) and 
flourished at the court of the Abbaside Khalif Al Mu'tamid, at 
Baghdad. Ibn Khurdadbih held the office of Chief of the Post 
in the province of Jibal, the ancient Media, and with a view, 
doubtless, of instructing his subordinates, compiled the " Hand- 
book of Routes and Countries" which has come down to us as one 
of the earliest of Muslim geographical treatises. 

The translations here given are made from the Arabic text 
published by C. Barbier de Meynard in the Journal Asiatique for 
the year 1865. 

2. The work of Biladhuri is of an entirely different order to the 
foregoing, and only in a very secondary sense geographical. His 
is the earliest historical account we possess of the Conquests of 
the Muslims. He was born at Baghdad, and received his educa- 
tion there during the days of the great Khalif, Al Mamun, and 
lived to enjoy the favour of both Al Mutawakkil and Al Musta'in, 
his successors. Biladhuri wrote his " Book of the Conquests " 
about the year 869, and died in 892. His work is unfortunately 
almost barren of geographical description, the names of the places 
only being given, and nothing more ; all detail is confined to the 
ordering of the battles, and the biographical notices of those who 
took part in the actions. 


The translations are from the text called Kitdb Futuh al Buldctn, 
published by M. J. de Goeje, Leiden, 1866. 

3. Kudamah, the author of a work on the revenues of the 
Muslim Empire, written about the year 880, was of Christian 
origin, but, like most of his compeers, he had found it to his 
advantage to embrace Islam. He occupied the post of accountant 
in the Revenue Department at Baghdad, and we know nothing 
further of his biography except that he died in 948. 

A translation, with extracts from the Arabic text, is given by 
McG. de Slane, under the title of Kitab al Kharaj\ in the Journal 
Asiatique for 1862, and from this the details of revenues of Syria 
inserted in Chapter i. are taken. 

4. Ya'kubi (also called Ibn Wadhih) was both historian and geo- 
grapher. In his History, which was written as early as the year 874, 
he states that the Dome of the Rock was the work of the Khalif 
'Abd al Malik, and gives the reason that prompted this prince to 
construct it. This is the earliest account we possess of the origin 
of this important building, and it refutes the theory advocated 
by the late Mr. Fergusson, that the Dome of the Rock was 
originally a Byzantine church. 

Ya'kubi's Geography was written many years later than his 
History, and about the year 891. It unfortunately has not reached 
us in a perfect state, but the section relating to Syria is tolerably 
complete. The work is curious, for it gives notes on the settle- 
ments made by the various Arab tribes who had migrated into 
Syria ; otherwise the book is little more than a bare list of pro- 
vinces, with their chief cities, and is only interesting for the 
information given of what were the great towns in those early 

Of Ya'kubi's biography but little is known. It would appear 
that he was born in Egypt, passed the earlier part of his life in 
Khurasan and the further east, and came back to spend his latter 
years on the banks of the Nile in the land of his birth. 

The text of the " Geography " was edited by A. W. T. Juynboll, 
Leiden, 1861, and it is from this edition the translations are made. 
The text of the " History" under Ya'kubi's alternative name of 
Ibn Wadhih, has been edited by M. T. Houtsma, Leiden, 1883. 

I 2 


5. Ibn al Fakih, the author of a very curious geographical 
miscellany, was a native of Hamadan, in Western Persia, and 
flourished during the Khalifate of Al Mu'tadhid at Baghdad. He 
wrote his work about the year 903, but unfortunately we only 
possess it in the form of a somewhat arbitrary abridgment made 
by a certain 'AH Shaizari, of whom little more is known than his 
name. Ibn al Fakih gives a careful description of the Haram 
Area at Jerusalem, and is also the first Arab author to describe 
the great stones at Baalbek, of which he notes the measurements. 

The text of the epitome of his work forms the fifth volume of the 
Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicorum, edited by M. J. de Goeje, 
Leiden, 1885. 

6. The next name on the list is that of a Spanish Arab, Ibn 
'Abd Rabbih, born at Cordova in 860, and died in the same city 
in 940. He composed an extremely interesting historical work, 
extending to three volumes in the Cairo printed edition, giving 
details of the life, and manners and customs, of the pre-Islamic 
Arabs and others. The book is named " The Collar of Unique 
Pearls" and in it there is a chapter describing in great detail the 
appearance of the Haram Area at Jerusalem. Whether the author 
ever visited the Holy City is not known ; some parts of his de- 
scription are identical with what is found in Ibn al Fakih's work, 
just named ; but many details again vary from the account there 

The Arabic text has been printed at Bulak, Cairo, in A.M. 1293 
(1876), under the title Al 'Ikd al Far id. 

7. Mas'udi is the author of one of the most entertaining his- 
torical works to be found in the whole range of Muslim literature. 
His "Meadows of Gold" begin with the Creation, and recount all 
the Arabs knew of universal history down to the year 943, when 
the work was written. Mas'udi was born in Baghdad towards the 
end of the eighth century of our era. In his youth he travelled 
far and wide, visiting Multan and parts of India, and passing through 
Persia a second time on his way to India and Ceylon, whence he 
returned to Baghdad via Madagascar. He travelled through 
Palestine in 926, and spent some time at Antioch ; then went and 
settled in Egypt about the year 955, where he died a year later, at 


Fustut, now called Old Cairo. Scattered broadcast among his 
many volumes of historic lore are a number of geographical notes, 
which are of considerable value, by reason of the early period at 
which the author wrote, his acuteness of observation, and his 
great learning. 

The Arabic text, with a French translation, of the " Meadows of 
Gold"'' (Muruj adh Dhahab} has been published by C. Barbier de 
Meynard and P. de Courteille in nine vols., Paris, 1861-77 '> an d 
it is from this text the translations have been made. 

8 and 9. The names of Istakhri (who wrote in 951), and Ibn 
Haukal (who wrote in 978), must be taken together, for the latter, 
who is the better-known author of the two, only brought out an 
amended and somewhat enlarged edition of the work of the former, 
and to which he gave his own name. We have in this double 
book the first systematic Arab geography. It is not a mere Road 
Book, such as is Ibn Kurdadbih's work, nor a Revenue List, like 
Kudamah's but a careful description of each province in turn 
of the Muslim Empire, with the chief cities and notable places. 
Istakhri, a native of Persepolis, as his name implies, states that he 
wrote his book to explain the maps which had been drawn up by 
a certain Balkhi, about the year 921, which maps are unfortunately 
not extant. Of Istakhri and Ibn Haukal all that we know is that 
they were both by trade merchants, and that they travelled far 
and wide in the pursuit of commerce. All biographical details 
of their lives are wanting. 

The texts of Istakhri and Ibn Haukal form the first and second 
volumes of M. J. de Goeje's Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicorum^ 
Leiden, 1870, 1873. The translation is made from whichever has 
proved to be the fuller narrative of the two, generally but not 
invariably that found in Ibn Haukal's work. 

10. Al Mukaddasi, "the Hierosolomite," was born at Jerusalem 
in 946. He had the advantage of an excellent education, and 
after having made the Pilgrimage to Makkah in his twentieth year, 
determined to devote himself to the study of geography. For the 
purpose of acquiring the necessary information he undertook a 
series of journeys which lasted over a score of years, and carried 
him in turn through all the countries of Islam. It was only in 


985 that he set himself to write his book, which gives us a sys- 
tematic account of all the places and regions he had visited. His 
description of Palestine, and especially of Jerusalem, his native 
city, is one of the best parts of the work. All he wrote is the 
fruit of his own observation, and his descriptions of the manners 
and customs of the various nations and the physical features of 
the various countries, bear the stamp of a shrewd and observant 
mind, fortified by a profound knowledge of both books and men. 

The translation of Mukaddasi I have already given in one of 
the publications of the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, and it is 
made from the Arabic text published as the third volume of M. J. 
de Goeje's Bibliotheca cited above, to which text the pages given 
have reference. 

11. Rather more than half a century later than Mukaddasi, and 
about half a century before the first Crusade, the Persian traveller, 
Nasir-i-Khusrau, passed through Palestine on his way to Makkah. 
He was in Jerusalem in 1047, and his description of the Holy 
City and the Haram Area is most minute, and extremely valuable, 
as being the last we have of the holy places before the coming of 
the Crusaders. Nasir was born in the neighbourhood of Balkh, in 
1003, and during the earlier years of his life travelled in India, 
where he lived for some time at the court of the celebrated Sultan 
Mahmud of Ghazni. He subsequently undertook the pilgrimage 
to Makkah, and it was on this occasion that he passed through 
Palestine and sojourned at Jerusalem. 

The portion of his Uiary having reference to the Holy Land I 
have translated (from the Persian original) in a recent number of 
the Palestine Pilgrims' Texts. The Persian text used is that 
collated from two MSS. in the British Museum (Ad. 18418, and 
Or. 1991). 

A French translation of Nasir-i-Khusrau, with the Persian text 
following, has been given by C. Schefer under the title of Sefcr 
Nameh, Paris, 1881. The British Museum MSS., however, give 
several new and important readings, and enable us to clear up not 
a few of the obscurities found in the French translation. 

12. Ibn Butlan's description of Antioch, and of some other of 
the cities of Syria, is only known to us by the extracts preserved 


in Yakut's great Geographical Dictionary (see below, No. 16), 
and no copy, apparently, of the original work is preserved among 
the Oriental manuscript collections of our European libraries. 

Yakut quotes the text verbatim from the Epistle (Itisdlah), 
which Ibn Butlan addressed to his friend, Abu'l Husain Hillal ibn 
al Muhsin as Sabi, at Baghdad. The Epistle was written " in the 
year 440 and odd," says Yakut ; a date, however, mentioned inci- 
dentally in the course of the narrative, shows that Ibn Butlan must 
have passed through Antioch during the year 443 (A.D. 1051). 
Ibn Butlan was a well-known Christian Arab physician, and a 
native of Baghdad. In 439 (A.D. 1047) he set out from that city 
to visit his Egyptian rival, the physician Ibn Rudhwan, at Cairo, 
and, going thence to Constantinople, took his return journey 
through Antioch. Here, age and the vanity of human wisdom 
caused him to abandon the world, and he became a monk, dying 
very shortly afterwards at Antioch, in the year 444 (1052 A.D.). 

1 3. The geographer Idrisi, is perhaps better known in the west 
than any other Arab writer on this subject. As long ago as 1592 
the text of his book was printed in Rome. His Geography was 
written in 1154 at the request of the Norman King, Roger II., of 
Sicily, at whose court he resided. Idrisi was born at Ceuta, but of 
Spanish- Arab parents. He travelled much, for he relates that he has 
seen the English and French coasts, and has lived at Lisbon. His 
description of Palestine is excellent, and what he says of Jerusalem 
is particularly interesting, for he wrote of the Holy City as it was 
during the occupation of the Crusaders. Some authorities state 
that he visited Asia Minor in the year 1116, but there is no ground 
for supposing that he went south of this, or that he had himself 
visited the Holy Land. His information, therefore, must have 
been derived from the accounts that he obtained at the court of 
Roger from books, and from those who had returned from their 
travels in that country. 

The Arabic text from which the present translations are made 
is that published in the Transactions of the German Palastina- 
Verein, vol. viii., 1885, by J. Gildemeister. 

14. Another Muslim who has left us a description of sites in 
Palestine during Crusading times is 'AH of Herat, who wrote in 


1173 a small work on " The Places of Pilgrimage." Its most in- 
teresting section is that describing Hebron, wherein he gives an 
account of a visit to the Cave of Machpelah. 'Ali of Herat, 
though of Persian origin, wrote in Arabic. The text of his work 
has not been printed; but the Bodleian Library at Oxford possesses 
a good MS. of the work (MS. E. D. Clarkii 17, civ., Uri.\ from 
which the translations given below have been made. 

7 AH died at Aleppo, where he had lived and written his book, 
in the year 1215. 

15. In 1185, two years before Saladin re-conquered Jerusalem, 
the northern part of Palestine was visited by the traveller Ibn 
Jubair, a Spanish-Arab, born at Valencia in 1145. Ibn Jubair 
set out on his travels from Granada in 1183; he came first to 
Egypt, went up the Nile, and then across the desert to Aidhab, 
on the Red Sea, whence he reached Makkah, and subsequently 
Al Madinah. Thence he crossed Arabia to Kufah and Baghdad 
(of which he has left a most interesting account) ; and, travelling 
up the Tigris bank, crossed from Mosul to Aleppo, came down to 
Damascus, and thence on to Acre, where he took ship, and ulti- 
mately landed again on Spanish soil, at Carthagena, in 1185. Un- 
fortunately for us he did not visit Jerusalem. He made two other 
voyages to the East subsequent to the one above mentioned, and 
on his return journey died at Alexandria, in Egypt. His descrip- 
tion of the places he saw is lively and full of detail, although from 
the ornate style in which he wrote, a literal translation of his Diary 
would be tiresome reading. His description of Damascus is given 
in Chapter vi. of the present work, and is the fullest we possess of 
that city during the Middle Ages. 

The Arabic text of Ibn Jubair's Diary has been published by 
the late Professor William Wright, Leiden, 1852, and it is to the 
pages of this work that the references, in the condensed transla- 
tion given, refer. 

1 6. For the immense extent of his labours, and the great bulk 
of his writings, Yakut may certainly take first rank among Muslim 
geographers. By birth a Greek and a slave, he was brought up and 
received a scientific education at Baghdad, in the house of his 
master, who was a merchant. The details of his biography would 


take too long to recount suffice it to say that, at various periods 
of his wandering life, he sojourned at Aleppo, Mosul, Arbela, and 
Marv; and that he fled from this latter city (in those days renowned 
for its numerous libraries) in 1220, on the advent of the armies of 
Jcnghis Khan. Travelling across Persia and through Mesopotamia, 
Yakut ultimately reached Syria, and settled down at Aleppo, in 
which city he died in 1229. His great Geographical Lexicon, 
which describes in alphabetical order every town and place of 
which the author could obtain any information, was completed in 
the year 1225. It is a storehouse of geographical information, 
the value of which it would be impossible to over-estimate ; for 
the book gives a detailed account, as seen in the thirteenth century, 
of all the countries and towns in Muslim lands, from Spain, in the 
West, to beyond Transoxiana and India, in the East. Some idea 
of the mass of information, both geographical and historical, 
therein contained, may perhaps be gathered from the statement 
that the Arabic text, as printed at the cost of the German Oriental 
Society, covers close on 4,000 pages, large 8vo ; and that an 
English translation, with the needful notes, would occupy from 
double to treble that space. 

Yakut also wrote a useful dictionary of Geographical Homonyms, 
being a list of different places that have identical names. 

The great Geographical Dictionary referred to above, called 

Mrfjam al Buldan "The Alphabetical (Dictionary) of Geography" 

is edited by Professor Wiistenfeld in six volumes, Leipsic, 1866. 

The Dictionary of Homonyms, called Al Mushtarik, is edited by 

' the same Orientalist, and was published at Gottingen in 1846. 

17. Three-quarters of a century after Yakut had finished his 
great Dictionary, his work was epitomized by a certain Safi ad 
Din. He added some few articles of his own, and cut down all 
the descriptions of places found in Yakut, giving to each name 
but a single line of text. The work is entitled Marasid al Ittila 
"The Watch-Tower of Informations." Of the epitomist, Safi 
ad Din, nothing is known, and even his name is somewhat a 
matter of doubt; but the year 1300 must have been approximately 
the date of his work, for he mentions as a recent occurrence the 
taking of Acre in 1291. The text of the Marasid has been 


edited by T. G. J. Juynboll (Leiden, 1859); but since this edition 
has been brought out, Professor Wiistenfeld has collated a MS. 
belonging to Lord Lindsay, which gives some additions to the 
printed text. These have been added by Professor Wiistenfeld to 
vol. v. of his edition of Yakut at pp. 11-32. 

1 8. Dimashki, born in 1256 at Damascus (as his name implies), 
wrote, about the year 1300, a jejune description of his native land, 
which, however; affords, on certain points, many curious details of 
the state of the country after the departure of the Crusaders. He 
was a contemporary of Sultan Bibars, and his work is of value in 
connection with the Crusading Chronicles. He died at Safed in 


The text of Dimashki has been printed in Petersburg, in 1866, 
by M. A. F. Mehren, and it is from this edition that the transla- 
tions have been made. 

19. Abu-1 Fida, some time Prince of Hamah, and a collateral 
descendant of the great Saladin, is a geographer of far higher 
merit than Dimashki. His chapter on Syria and Palestine is, for 
the most part, not copied from books ; for since he is describing 
his native country, he writes from personal observation. The 
work was completed in 1321. Abu-1 Fida himself was born at 
Damascus in 1273. He lived under the Mamluk Sultans of 
Egypt Kalaun, Lajun, and Malik an Nasir and was named 
Governor of Hamah in 1310, in which city he died in 1331. 

The Arabic text of Abu-1 Fida's Geography was published by 
Reinaud and De Slane (Paris, 1840), and this is the edition 

20. Ibn Batutah, the Berber, may well take rank with the 
Venetian, Marco Polo,* for the marvellous extent of his journey- 
ings. He was born at Tangiers about the year 1300, and at the 
age of twenty-five set out on his travels. Of these he has left us 
a full description, written in the year 1355. His route in the 
barest outline is all that can here be indicated. Starting from 
Morocco, he visited in succession Tunis, Tripoli, and Egypt. 
Going up through Palestine and Syria, he accompanied the Hajj 

* Marco Polo returned to Venice in 1295, an d wrote his travels when in 
captivity at Genoa about the year 1300. 


to Madman and Makkah, went thence on through Mesopotamia 
to Persia, and, returning, spent some months at Baghdad, 
and subsequently at Mosul. From Mosul he went again to 
Makkah, and from there travelled through Yemen, and so back to 
Egypt. From Egypt he took ship for Asia Minor, and afterwards 
visited Constantinople, the Crimea, Astrakhan, Kharizim, Tartary, 
Transoxiana, Afghanistan, and finally reached India, where he 
spent a considerable time at Delhi. From India he sailed to the 
Maldive Islands and Ceylon, taking them on his way to China ; 
and on the return journey visited Sumatra. After long voyaging 
in the Indian Ocean, he again found himself at Makkah, and 
from that holy city took his way home to Fez, via the Sudan and 
Timbuctoo. He subsequently visited Spain ; and died at Fez, at 
an advanced age, in the year 1377. 

Ibn Batutah's account of what he saw in Palestine is often 
curious, and his description of Jerusalem gives a few details not 
found elsewhere ; but his style is verbose and bombastic, and he 
too often copies from his predecessor, Ibn Jubair, to be of much 
value as an original authority. 

Ibn Batutah's text, with a French translation, has been pub- 
lished by C. Defremery and B. R. Sanguinetti, at the cost of the 
Societc Asiatique, in four volumes, Paris, 1879 ; and this is the 
edition quoted in the present work. 

21. Muthir al Ghiram, or, " The Exciter of Desire " (for Visi- 
tation of the Holy City and Syria), is by a native of Jerusalem 
called Jamal ad Din Ahmad, who wrote a topographical descrip- 
tion of the Holy City in the year 1351. Excellent MSS. of this 
work, which has never yet been printed, are preserved in the 
Bibliotkeque Nationale at Paris, and from these the translations 
given have been made. For a full description of the MSS., and 
an account of Jamal ad Din's life, I may refer to my paper on 
Suyuti (who has copied Jamal ad Din), in the Journal of the Royal 
Asiatic Society, vol. xix , new series, p. 250. 

22. The second Muthir \s a work with the same name as the 
above, but written by a certain Abu-1 Fida Ishak, of Hebron, who 
died in 1430. He describes the Sanctuary of that city, and the 
Tombs of the Patriarchs. Details of the MSS. from which my 


translation has been made (for the Arabic text of the work has 
never been printed) will be found in the paper cited above. 

23. Shams ad Din Suyuti (not to be confounded with his 
better-known namesake, who bore the title of Jamal ad Din) 
visited Jerusalem in 1470, and shortly after wrote a description of 
the Holy City, entitled Ithaf al Akhissa, " A Gift for Intimates" 
(concerning the merits of the Aksa Mosque). In this work he 
largely plagiarizes from the two Muthirs mentioned above (Nos. 2 1 
and 22), as I have shown in the paper in the J. R. A. S. already 
mentioned. Quotations from Suyuti give references to the pages 
of the J. R. A. S., vol. xix., new series. 

24. Mujir ad Din, the last name on the list, though better 
known than the three preceding topographers, has done little more 
than reproduce verbatim the descriptions given by the authors of 
the two Muthirs and Suyuti. 

The work of Mujir ad Din, who wrote his Uns al Jalil in 1496, 
has been translated into French by H. Sauvaire (Histoire de 
Jerusalem et <T Hebron, Paris, 1876); the Arabic text also has 
been printed at Bulak (Cairo), A.M. 1283 (1866), and it is to 
this text that the pages given in the present translations refer. 

Mujir ad Din, besides what he copies verbatim from his prede- 
cessors, gives a full account of the various mosques, colleges, 
shrines, tombs, and holy places in Jerusalem, and also a descrip- 
tion of the quarters and streets of the Holy City as these existed 
at the close of the fifteenth century. 

In the present work the purely topographical details of the City 
given by Mujir ad Din have not been inserted, the translations 
made from his work being confined to such additional information 
on the older buildings of the Hararn Area and neighbouring sites 
as seemed of importance in connection with the statements of 
previous writers. 

Besides the above authorities I have sought to verify dates of 
historical events by references to the pages of the great Chronicles 
of Tabari, and of Ibn al Athir. The text of the former Chronicle 
is now in course of publication at Leiden, under the editorship of 


M. J. de Goeje ; and it is to the various volumes of this edition 
that the quotations here given refer. Ibn al Athir's Chronicle 
has been edited in Arabic in fourteen volumes, by C. J. Tornberg, 
Leiden, 1867-76. 

The various publications of the Palestine Exploration Fund 
(P.E.F.) Survey of Western Palestine, as embodied in the Memoirs 
(in three volumes), the volume on Jerusalem, and the Special 
Papers, also the numbers of the Quarterly Statement, will often 
be found quoted in the following pages ; as also the publications 
of the Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society (P.P.T.), which describe 
the Holy Land in the days of the Crusaders and the early 
Christian Pilgrims. 

The following list gives the initials under which reference is 
made to the works of the Arab geographers and travellers in the 
editions named in the foregoing pages : 



I. (I. Kh.) 

Ibn Khurdadbih wrote 

. circa 864 


2. (Bil.) 




3. (Kud.) 


. circa 880 


( " History " 



4. (Yb.) 

( " Geography " ... 


2 7 8 

5- (LF.) 

Ibn al Fakih 



6. (I.R.) 

Ibn 'Abd Rabbin . 

. circa 913 


7. (Mas.) 

Mas'ddi . - . 



8. (Is.) 




9- (I.H.) 

Ibn Haukal . 



10. (Muk.) 

Mukaddasi . . 



ri. (N. Kh.) 





Ibn Butlan (in Yakftt) 



13. (Id.) 

Idrisi . 



14. (A.H.) 

'Ali of Herat . 



15- dj.) 

Ibn Jubair . .^ ., 



1 6. (Yak.) 




17- (Mar.) 

The author of the Mardsid . 



18. (Dim.) 

Dimashki . . ., 

. circa 1300 


19. (A.F.) 

Abu-1-Fida . . 



20. (I.E.) 

Ibn Batutah . . . 



21. (Muth. I.) 

The author of the first Muthtr 



22. (Muth. II.) 

The author of the second MutMr 



23. (S.) 

Shams ad Din Suyuti :. 



24. (M.a.D.) 

Mujir ad Din. . 





The name "Ash Sham." Physical features. Climate. Prod nets. Manners 
and customs. Festivals. The Watch-stations of the coast. 

Territorial Divisions: The "Junds," or Military Districts. Jund 
Filastin. The Tih, or Desert of the Wanderings. The Jifar. Jund al 
Urdunn. The Ghaur. Jund Dimashk. The Ghutah of Damascus, the 
Hauran, and Bathaniyyah, Jaulan, jaidur, and Iluiah. The Balka. - A>h 
Sharah. Al Jibal. Jund Hims. Jund Kinnasrin. Jund 'Awasim. The 
Thughur. The Nine "Kingdoms" of Syria. 

Tribute and 7 axes. Weights and Measures. 

SYRIA a name first given by the Greeks to the country lying im- 
mediately round Sdr, or Tyre, and which afterwards came to be 
applied by them to the whole province was never adopted by the 
Arabs as a general term for the lands on the eastern border of the 
Mediterranean. The whole of the great and fertile tract of moun- 
tain-land and plain, generally known to us as Syria and Palestine, 
extending from the Cilician Passes on the north, to the desert of 
Egypt on the south, and bounded on the west and east by the sea 
and the desert of Arabia respectively, the Arabs called Ash Sham, 
that being an ancient Arabic word for " left," (or " north ") when 
the speaker faced the rising sun. Another, and more fanciful, 
etymology of this name is also given by Mukaddasi and others : 
" It has been said that Syria is called ' Sham,' " says Mukaddasi, 
" because it lies on the left of the Ka'abah, and also because those 
who journey thither (from the Hijjaz) bear to the left or north ; or 
else it may be because there are in Syria so many Beauty-spots, 
such as we call Shamat red, white and black (which are the 
fields and gardens held to resemble the moles on a beauty's face)/' 
(Muk., 152.) 


1 1 


The same author continues : 

"Syria is very pleasantly situated. The country, physically, 
may be divided into four zones. The first zone is that on the 
border of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the plain-country, the 
sandy tracts following one another, and alternating with the culti- 
vated land. Of towns situated herein are Ar Ramlah, and also 
all the cities of the sea-coast. The second zone is the mountain- 
country, well wooded, and possessing many springs, with frequent 
villages, and cultivated fields. Of the cities that are situated in 
this part are : Bait Jibril, Jerusalem, Nabulus, Al-Lajjun, Kabul, 
Kadas, the towns of the Bika' and Antioch. The third zone is 
that of the valleys of the (Jordan) Ghaur, wherein are found many 
villages and streams, also palm-trees, well cultivated fields, and 
indigo plantations. Among the towns in this part are Wailah, 
Tabuk, Sughar, Jericho, Baisan, Tiberias, Baniyas. The fourth 
zone is that bordering on the Desert. The mountains here are 
high and bleak, and the climate resembles that of the Waste ; but 
it has many villages, with springs of water and forest trees. Of 
the towns therein are Maab, 'Amman, Adhra'ah, Damascus, Hims, 
Tadmur, and Aleppo." (Muk., 186.) 

" The climate of Syria is temperate, except in that portion which 
lies in the centre region of the province, between Ash Sharah 
(Mount Seir) and Al Hulah (the waters of Merom) ; and this is 
the hot country where grow the indigo-tree, the banana, and the 
palm. One day when I (Mukaddasi) was staying in Jericho, the 
physician Ghassan said to me, ' Seest thou this valley ?' (that is, 
the Jordan Ghaur). ' Yes,' I answered. And he continued, ' It 
extends from hence as far as the Hijjaz, and thence through Al 
Yamamah to 'Oman and Hajar ; thence passing up by Basrah and 
Baghdad towards the left (west) of Mosul, it reaches to Ar Rakkah, 
and it is always a Wady of heat and of palm-trees.' " 

" The coldest place in Syria is Ba'albakk and the country 
round, for among the sayings of the people it is related how, when 
men asked of the cold, 'Where shall we find thee ?' it was 
answered, * In the Balka ;' and when they further said, * But if we 
meet thee not there ?' then the cold added, ' Verily in Ba'albakk 
is my home.' " 


" Now Syria is a land of blessing, a country of cheapness, 
abounding in fruits, and peopled by holy men. The upper pro- 
vince, which is near the dominions of the Greeks, is rich in 
streams and crops, and the climate of it is cold. And the lower 
province is even more excellent, and pleasanter, by reason of the 
lusciousness of its fruits and in the great number of its palm-trees. 
But in the whole country of Syria there is no river carrying boats, 
except only for the ferry." (Muk., 179.) 

" Unequalled is this land of Syria for its dried figs, its common 
olive-oil, its white bread, and the Ramlah veils ; also for the 
quinces, the pine-nuts called * Kuraish-bite,' the 'Ainuni and Duri 
raisins, the Theriack-antidote, the herb of mint, and the rosaries of 
Jerusalem. And further, know that within the province of 
Palestine may be found gathered together six-and-thirty products 
that are not found thus united in any other land. Of these the 
first seven are found in Palestine alone ; the following seven are very 
rare in other countries ; and the remaining two-and-twenty, though 
only found thus gathered together in this province, are, for the 
most part, found one and another, singly, in other lands. Now the 
first seven are the pine-nuts, called ' Kuraish-bite,' the quince or 
Cydonian-apple, the 'Ainuni and the Duri raisins, the Kafuri plum, 
the fig called As Saba'i, and the fig of Damascus. The next 
seven are the Colocasia or water lily, the sycamore, the carob or St. 
John's bread (locust-tree), the lotus-fruit or jujube, the artichoke, 
the sugar-cane, and the Syrian apple. And the remaining twenty- 
two are the fresh dates and olives, the shaddock, the indigo and 
juniper, the orange, the mandrake, the Nabk fruit, the nut, the 
almond, the asparagus, the banana, the sumach, the cabbage, the 
truffle, the lupin, and the early prune, called At Tari ; also snow, 
buffalo-milk, the honey-comb, the 'Asimi grape, and the Tamri or 
date-fig. Further, there is the preserve called Kubbait ; you find, 
in truth, the like of it in name elsewhere, but of a different 
flavour. The lettuce also, which everywhere else, except only at 
Ahwaz (in Persia), is counted as a common vegetable, is here in 
Palestine a choice dish. However, at Basrah, too, it is held 
superior to the more common vegetables." (Muk., 181.) 

Some few of these items require explanation : The Theriack, 


called in Arabic Taryak, borrows its name from the Greek 
@r,pia'/.6v <j>dp!J,ar.w t "a drug against venomous bites." It was 
generally compounded with treacle and other ingredients of most 
varied description. 

" Kuraish-bite," according to our dictionaries, is the fruit of the 
Finns picea and also of the smaller Snobur-pine, Strobili pint. 

The Sugar-cane was cultivated during the Middle Ages in many 
parts of Syria and Palestine, especially at Tripoli on the sea-coast 
(see Part II., Tarabulus\ and in the hot Jordan Ghaur. Every- 
where in this district the traveller at the present day meets with 
ruined mills for crushing the cane, named Tawdhln as Sukkdr. 
The cultivation of the cane was introduced into western countries 
from Kuzistan in Persia, and, throughout the Middle Ages, Shuster 
(the ancient Susa) was renowned for this manufacture on a large 
scale. The art of sugar-refining was very extensively practised by 
the Arabs, and under their dominion the growth of the cane and 
the manufacture of sugar spread far and wide, from India eastward 
to Morocco, and was introduced into Europe through the Muslim 
conquests in Spain and Sicily. 

In regard to the Orange, the researches of Gallesio have proved 
that India was the country from which this fruit spread first to 
Western Asia, and eventually to Europe. From remote antiquity 
the orange has been cultivated in Hindustan, and before the close 
of the ninth century the bitter variety seems to have been well 
known to the Arabs, who had introduced it into the countries of 
South-Western Asia. Mas'udi, who wrote in the year 943 (332), 
has the following account of the acclimatization of orange and 
citron trees : 

" The orange-tree (Shajar an JVdranj\ and the tree bearing 
the round citron (al Utrnj al mudawwar\ have been brought from 
India since the year 300 A.M. (912 A.D.), and were first planted in 
'Oman. Thence they were carried by caravans from Al Basrah into 
'Irak and Syria. The trees have now become very numerous in 
the houses of the people of Tarsus and other of the Syrian frontier 
towns ; also in Antioch and in all the Syrian coast towns, with 
those of Palestine and Egypt, where, but a short time ago, they 
were unknown. The fruit, however, has lost its original perfume 


and flavour, as also the fine colour it shows in India, and this is 
because of the change from the peculiar soil and climate and 
water of its native land." (Mas., ii. 438.) 

The Mandrake, called in Arabic Luffah, is the Fructus atropce 
Mandragorce, of botanists. Its root is called Yabriih by the 
Arabs, and is poisonous, while its fruit is edible. 

In his chapter on Egypt, Mukaddasi describes the Nabk as " a 
fruit of the size of the medlar (Zu'riir). It contains numerous 
kernels, and is sweet. It is the fruit of the Sidr (the tree-lotus). 
To the fruit they add (the sweet paste called) Nidah, which 
is the same as Samanu, only more finely prepared, and then 
spread it out on reed-matting until it dries and sticks together " 
(Muk., 204). " Samanu " is a sweet paste that is well known at 
the present day all over Persia, and " Nidah " is the sweetmeat for 
which the town of Menshiyyeh in Egypt, is famous. 

The preserve called " Kubbait," also called Kubbat^m^. Kubbad, 
is a sweetmeat made with carob-sugar, almonds, and pistachio 

Mukaddasi, continuing his account, gives the following details 
of the commerce of Syria in the tenth century : 

" The trade of Syria is considerable. 

" From Palestine come olives, dried figs, raisins, the carob- 
fruit, stuffs of mixed silk and cotton, soap and kerchiefs. 

" From Jerusalem come cheeses, cotton, the celebrated raisins 
of the species known as 'Ainuni and Duri, excellent apples, 
bananas which same is a fruit in the form of a cucumber, but 
when the skin is peeled off, the interior is not unlike the water- 
melon, only finer flavoured and more luscious also pine nuts of 
the kind called ' Kuraish-bite,' and their equal is not found else- 
where ; further, mirrors, lamp-jars, and needles. 

" From Jericho is brought excellent indigo. 

" From Sughar and Baisan come both indigo and dates, also the 
treacle called Dibs. 

" From 'Amman grain, lambs, and honey. 

" From Tiberias carpet stuffs, paper, and cloth. 

" From Kadns clothes of the stuffs called Munayyir and 
afmyyah, also ropes. 


" From Tyre come sugar, glass beads and glass vessels both 
cut and blown. 

" From Maab almond kernels. 

" From Baisan rice. 

" From Damascus come all these : olive-oil fresh-pressed, the 
Bafhiyyah cloth, brocade, oil of violets of an inferior quality, 
brass vessels, paper, nuts, dried figs, and raisins. 

" From Aleppo, cotton, clothes, dried figs, dried herbs, and the 
red-chalk called Al Maghrah. 

" Ba'albakk produces the sweetmeat of dried figs called Malban" 
(Muk., 180.) 

In the above lists some items demand explanation : The Dibs 
treacle is boiled-down fruit-syrup. It is often made from dates 
or raisins, steeped in their own weight of water, boiled up and 
then allowed to simmer ; the mass being finally set in the sun to 
dry, when a paste-like residue is left behind. 

The Paper here mentioned is the cotto //-paper,* known as 
Charta datnascena, or Bombydna during the Middle Ages, which 
the Arabs had learnt the art of making after their capture of 
Samarkand in A.D. 704. Although as early as the tenth century 
Bombycinum was used at Rome, this cotton-paper did not come 
into general use throughout Europe much before the middle of 
the thirteenth century, and tinea-paper was first made in the 
fourteenth century. 

The cloth called Munayyir was of double woof, and celebrated 
for its durability, being chiefly manufactured at Shiraz and Ray 
(Rhages), in Persia, where it was known by the name of Daibud. 
Of the BaVlsiyyah no details are given in the dictionaries. 

The red-chalk called Maghrah is the mineral Rubrica Sinopica, 
much used by the druggists of the Middle Ages in the concoction 
of specifics. It was especially employed in the clyster, and as a 
remedy in cases of liver disease ; for which it is recommended by 

* That Charta Bombydna was made from cotton is the generally received 
statement, which, however, M. C. M. Briquet has recently controverted. 
According to this last authority, Botnbycina was made from hemp and the 
remains of old ropes. See his work La Lcgcnde Palcographique dn Papier de 
Coton, Geneve, 1884. 

2 2 


The Malban sweetmeat is noticed by the Jewish doctor 
Maimonides, who calls it " Malben " (in Hebrew 7 ), and describes it 
as made of figs pressed into the form of small bricks. 

Treating of the mineral products of Syria, Mukaddasi continues : 
" There are iron-mines in the mountains above Bairut, and 
near Aleppo is found the red-chalk called Maghrah. It is here of 
excellent quality ; at 'Amman, w r here it is also found, it is less good. 
Throughout Syria there are met with many mountains of a reddish 
colour, the rocks of which are known as of the Samakah (or red- 
sandstone), which same is easily quarried. Also other mountains 
of a whitish colour, formed of what is called Hawwarah (or wliite- 
chalk) ; this is soft, and they use it to whitewash the ceilings, and 
for the cementing of the terrace-roofs of the houses. In Pales- 
tine there are quarries of good white building-stone ; and near 
Bait Jabril, in many places, marble is found. From the Ghaur 
districts they bring sulphur, and other such-like minerals ; and 
from the Dead Sea they get salt in powder. The best honey 
is that from Jerusalem, where the bee? suck the thyme ; and 
likewise from the Jabal 'Amilah. The finest quality of the sauce 
called Muri is that which is made at Jericho." (Muk., 184.) 

The Muri sauce, here mentioned, is a pickle made from certain 
fish or meat set in salt water. It has medicinal properties, duly 
noted by Galen, Dioscorides, and others, and was known to the 
Romans under the name of Garum or Muria. One Al Hafiz 
calls it " the pearl of condiments." 

" The water in Syria," says Mukaddasi, " is for the most part 
excellent. That found at Baniyas, however, acts aperiently ; and 
the water of Tyre causes constipation. At Baisan the water is 
heavy and bad ; while verily we take refuge in Allah from that of 
Sughar ! The water of Bait ar Ram is execrable ; but nowhere 
do you find lighter (better) water than at Jericho. The water of 
Ar Ramlah is easy of digestion : but that of Nabulus is hard. In 
Damascus and Jerusalem the water is not so hard, for the 
climate of these towns is less arid." (Muk., '184.) 

Of the general manners and customs of Syria Mukaddasi has 
the following : 

' In the Syrian mosques it is the wont to keep the lamps always 


lighted, and they are suspended by chains even as at Makkah. In 
the chief town of every province, the public treasure is kept in 
the great mosque, it being placed in a chamber supported upon 
pillars. And in their mosques, except only in the one at Jericho, it 
is of usage to have doors shutting off the Main-building from the 
Court, which latter is flagged with stone. The court of the great 
mosque at Tiberias alone in all this province is paved with 

"The minarets are built square, and they set a pitched roof * 
(called Jamalan, meaning 'camel-backed') over the Main-building 
of the mosques ; also, at all the mosque gates, and in the market- 
places, are cells for the ablution. 

" Of Christian feasts that are observed also by the Muslims of 
Syria, for the division of the seasons of the year, are the following : 
Easter, at the new year (old style, the vernal equinox) ; Whitsuntide, 
at the time of heat ; Christmas, at the time of cold ; the Feast of St. 
Barbara (4th of Kanun I., December), in the rainy season and 
the people have a proverb which says : ' When St. Barbara's feast 
comes round, then the mason may take to his flute/ meaning that 
he may then sit quiet at home ; the Feast of the Kalends (ist of 
Kanun II., January) and, again, one of their proverbs is : * When 
the Kalends come, keep warm and stay at home ' ; the Feast of the 
Cross (i3th or i4th of Ilul, September), at the time of grape- 
gathering ; and the feast of Lydda (or the Feast of St. George, 
23rd of Nisan, April), at the time of sowing the seed. 

"The months in use in Syria are the solar months of the 
Greeks ; namely, Tishrin, first and second (October and Novem- 
ber) ; Kanun, first and second (December and January) ; Shibat 
(February); Adhar (March); Nisan (April); Ayyar (May); 
Hazairan (June) ; Tammuz (July) ; Ab (August) ; and Ilul 
(September)." (Muk., 182.) 

Mukaddasi continues : "It is seldom recorded that any juris- 
prudist of Syria propounds new doctrines, or that any Muslim 
here is the writer of aught ; except only at Tiberias, where the 
scribes have ever been in repute. And verily the scribes here in 
Syria, even as is the case in Egypt, are all Christians, for the Muslims 

* See Chapter III., Mukaddasi's description of the Aksa Mosque. 


abandon to them entirely this business, and, unlike the men of 
other nations, do not hold letters a profitable subject of study. 

" In this province of Syria, also, for the most part, the assayers 
of coin, the dyers, bankers, and tanners, are Jews, while it is 
most usual for the physicians and the scribes to be Christians. 

" The Syrians are a well-dressed folk. Both learned and simple 
wear the long cloak called Rida, and they do not put on lighter 
garments in summer-time, except it be in the matter of the single- 
soled shoe. 

" The Syrians wear the heavy rain-cloaks, of wool, called Mini tar, 
thrown open ; and their ' Tailasans ' have not the hollowed form. 
In Ar Ramlah the chief shopkeepers are wont to ride Egyptian 
asses, with fine saddles, and it is only Amirs and chiefs who keep 
horses. The villagers and the scribes wear the woollen vest called 
Durra'ah. The clothing of the peasantry in the villages round 
Jerusalem and Nabulus consists of a single shirt, called the A'z'sd, 
and they wear no drawers beneath it." (Muk., 182, 183.) 

The Tailasan here alluded to was the distinctive head-dress of 
the Kadis, or judges, and the men of learning. It consisted of a 
veil (also called Tarhah\ worn above the ordinary turban, allowed 
to fall back over the shoulders. It was usually made of white 
muslin or linen stuff. The word I have rendered by "hollowed," 
mukawwar, may also signify "starched," but it is generally taken 
to denote the "nick," or cavity, left at the top of the head-dress. 
The Durra'ah (also called Midra'aK) was a short vest generally 
worn open in front, but having buttons to fasten it if desired. It 
was made of coloured stuffs, and in cloth or other woollen fabric. 

The Kisa is the long shirt or smock, reaching from the neck 
almost to the feet it was of either white or coloured stuff. The 
dress of the Fellahin of Palestine is, down to the present time, 
exactly what Mukaddasi here describes. In reading the mediaeval 
writers, those who have travelled in modern Syria will be con- 
stantly struck by the fact that most of the customs noticed by these 
authors are still kept up at the present day. The following descrip- 
tion of the bread-ovens, in particular, applies precisely to what may 
now be seen in every Druze village of Mount Carmel. 

"The people of Syria," writes Mukaddasi, "have ovens, and 


the villagers especially make use of the kind called Tabun. These 
are small, and used for baking bread, and are dug in the 
ground. They line them with pebbles, and kindling the fire of 
dried dung within and above, they afterwards remove the hot 
aslu-s and place the loaves of bread to bake upon these pebbles, 
when they have become thus red-hot. There are also bakers in 
Syria of the lentil-bread, and of the dish called Baisar (of beans 
cooked in honey and milk). In this province, too, they boil in 
olive-oil beans that have already sprouted, and then fry them, 
which is a dish sold for eating with olives. Also they salt the 
lupin, and use it much for food. From the carob-bean they make 
a species of sweetmeat, which is called Kubbait ; that made from 
the sugar-cane is known for distinction as Natif (that is, sweet 
meat). During the winter-time they bake the sugared butter- 
cakes called Zidlabiyyah; these are of pastry, but in Syria they 
are not made, as elsewhere, with cross-bars on the top and con- 
fection of fruit. In the greater number of the above customs the 
Syrians resemble the Egyptians, but in some few they have the 
ways of the inhabitants of 'Irak and Akur (that is Lower and 
Upper Mesopotamia)." (Muk., 183.) 

" All along the sea-coast of Filastin are the Watch-stations, called 
Ribat, where the levies assemble. The war- ships and the galleys 
of the Greeks also come into these ports, bringing aboard of them 
the captives taken from the Muslims ; these they offer for ransom 
three for the hundred Dinars.* And in each of these ports there 
are men who know the Greek tongue, for they have missions to 
the Greeks, and trade with them in divers wares. At the Stations, 
whenever a Greek vessel appears, they sound the horns ; also, if 
it be night, they light a beacon there on the tower ; or, if it be 
day, they make a great smoke. From every Watch-station on the 
coast up to the capital ( Ar Ramlah) there are built, at intervals, high 
towers, in each of which is stationed a company of men. On the 
occasion of the arrival of the Greek ships the men, perceiving 
these, kindle the beacon on the tower nearest to the coast-station, 
and then on that lying next above it, and onwards, one after 

* That is, about 16 for each captive, equivalent, however, in the currency 
of the present day, to nearly 50 ; see p. 44. 


another, so that hardly is an hour elapsed before the trumpets 
are sounding in the capital, and drums are beating in the towers, 
calling the people down to the Watch-station by the sea. And 
they hurry out in force, with their arms, and the young men of 
the village gather together. Then the ransoming begins. Some 
will be able to ransom a prisoner, while others (less rich) 
will throw down silver Dirhams, or signet-rings, or contribute some 
other valuable, until at length all the prisoners who are in the 
Greek ships have been ransomed. Now the Watch-stations of 
this province of Filastin, where this ransoming of captives takes 
place, are these : Ghazzah, Mimas, 'Askalan, Mahuz- (the port of) 
Azdud, Mahuz- (the port of) Yubna, Yafah, and Arsuf." (Muk., 


When, towards the close of the first half of the seventh century 
of our era, the great wave of Arab conquest swept over Syria, and 
wrested that province from the Byzantine dominion, the march 
of the invading hordes came down along the well-known caravan 
route, leading from Makkah and Al Madinah to Damascus, which 
lay along what is now the return Pilgrim Road from the Hijjaz to 
the cities of Syria. Hence the first territories that came under 
the power of Islam were the countries east of the Jordan and the 
Dead Sea; and it was not till Damascus and its territory in the 
north had been taken, that Galilee, the lowlands of the Jordan 
Province, and Palestine, were overrun by the Muslims. The 
subjugation of the provinces north of Damascus, with the great 
cities of Antioch, Aleppo, and Emessa, followed almost imme- 
diately on the foregoing, and thus completed the conquest of Syria. 

The line taken by the Arabs on their inroad explains the 
political divisions into which the conquered territories came to be 
parcelled out when the second Khalif, the great administrator 
'Omar, settled the government of the Muslim Empire. Syria was 
divided into provinces, each of which was termed a Jund. The 
word, according to the lexicons, means, primarily, " a troop of 
soldiers." In Syria it was applied to the " military districts " in 
which a special body of troops lay in garrison, and hence in parti- 
cular the five great military districts into which Syria was divided. 


These five were the following : The Jund of Damascus, and, 
northwards, the Jund of Hims and the Jund of Kinnasrin. West 
and south-west of the Damascus Jund was the Jordan District, 
called Jund al Urdunn, comprising Galilee, and the Sea of Galilee, 
:?nd the lowlands of the Jordan, down to the Dead Sea. West of 
this again lay Palestine proper, the Jund Filastin, which included 
all the countries lying to the south of the great plain of Acre 
and Esdraelon to the west of the Jordan cleft and the Dead Sea. 
This Jund had the sea for its western boundary, and the Desert of 
the Wanderings and the road to Egypt closing it on the south. 

The country lying north of the Damascus Province had, in the 
first years of the Arab conquest, formed but a single Jund, called, 
after its chief town, Jund Hims (Emessa). When Mu'awiyah 
(66 1 679), the first Khalif of the house of Omayyah, had suc- 
ceeded in putting down his rival 'Ali (the Prophet's son-in-law), 
and had detached the people of Northern Mesopotamia from 
their allegiance to the latter, he erected the lands where they 
had settled into a separate district, calling it Jund Kinnasrin. 
This is the account given by Dimashki, a somewhat late authority 
(1300). The early historian Biladhuri (869) states, on the other 
hand, that it was the Khalif Yazid, son of Mu'awiyah above 
mentioned, who instituted the new Jund of Kinnasrin by separat- 
ing these territories from those of Hims. (Bil., 132 ; copied by 
Yak., iii. 742.) The new province was called the Jund of 
Kinnasrin, after its chief town of that name, the ancient 
Chalcis. It comprised the districts round Aleppo, Antioch, and 

Syria, thus divided into five Junds, so remained during all the 
days of the Damascene Khalifate of the Omayyads. After the 
fall of that dynasty, and the rise of the Abbasides, who made 
Baghdad their capital, on the Tigris, the northern frontiers of 
Syria were considerably extended by the conquests of the Khalif 
Al Mansur and his successors ; and in the reign of Harun ar 
Rashid, about the year 170 (786), it was found necessary to sub- 
divide the now overgrown Jund of Kinnasrin. The country, there- 
fore, towards the Greek frontier, comprising the territories from 
Antioch westward to the coast, and astward to Aleppo and Manbij, 


was erected into a new Jund, called Jund al 'Awasim, the latter 
word being the plural of 'Asim, signifying a "stronghold." North 
of this again, and on the actual frontier, was the district called 
Ath Thughur that of the "frontier fortresses." These frontier 
fortresses were often divided into the Thughur of Syria, to the 
westward, and the Thughur of Mesopotamia, to the eastward. 
The district consisted of the long chain of fortresses that guarded 
the northern frontier of Syria, built there for keeping out the in- 
cursions of the Greeks. This chain of fortresses ran from Tarsus, 
Adana, and Mopsuestia, on the west, by Malatiyah and Hisn 
Mansur, to the line of the upper waters of the Euphrates at 
Samosata and Balis, on the east. (Cf. Dim., 192, 214.) 

To return, however, to the early division of Syria into five Junds. 
These corresponded very nearly with the old Roman and Byzantine 
provinces, such as the Arabs found in existence at the time of the 
conquest, and which are described in the Code of Theodosius, a 
work that dates from the fifth century A.D. 

Palaestina Prima, with Caesarea for its capital, comprising Judaea 
and Samaria, became the Arab Jund of Filastin, with Ramlah for 

Palaestina Secunda, with Scythopolis (Beth Shean, Baisan) for 
its capital, comprising the two Galilees and the western part of 
Peraea, became the Jund of Al Urdunn (the Jordan), with Tiberias 
for the new capital. 

Palaestina Tertia, or Salutaris, including Idumaea and Arabia 
Petraea, was absorbed partly into the Damascus Jund, and partly 
was counted in Filastin. 

Phoenicia Prima, with Tyre for its capital, and Phoenicia 
Secunda, or Ad Libanum, became, in the new arrangement 
(together with many of the outlying lands east of the Jordan) the 
great Jund of Damascus. 

Syria Secunda, north of this, with Apameia for its capital, was 
divided by the Arabs between the Junds of Hamah and Hims. 
Lastly, Syria Prima, with Antioch for its capital, became the 
Jund of Halab, or Kinnasrin ; or, more exactly, that portion of it 
which was ultimately made into a separate district, under the 
name of the Jund of the 'Awasim. 


The Junds, and the two Northern Provinces, are described by 
the Arab geographers in the following terms : 

" The provinces of Syria," write Istakhri and Ibn Haukal in the 
tenth century, " are Jund Filastin, and Jund al Urdunn, Jund 
Dimashk, Jund Hims, and Jund Kinnasrin. Then the 'Awashn 
and the Thughur. 

" The frontiers of Syria are the following : On the west, the 
Bahr Rum (the Greek or Mediterranean Sea); on the east, the 
desert from Ailah to the Euphrates ; and along this river to the 
frontiers of Rum (the Greek country). The northern frontier is 
the country of Rum, while the southern is the frontier of Egypt, 
and the Tih (the Desert of the Wanderings) of the Bani Israil. 

"The furthest point south of Syria towards Egypt is Rafh. 
North, towards the country of Rum, the furthest limits are the 
Fortresses (Thughur), which of old times were called the Meso- 
potamian Fortresses. These are Malatyah (Malatia, Mitelene), 
Al Hadath, Mar'ash, Al Haruniyyah, Al Kanisah, 'Ain Zarbah, 
Al Massisah, Adhanah, and Tarsus. We reckon all these Fortresses 
as belonging to Syria, speaking generally ; but although some have 
always been known as the Fortresses of Syria, others are often 
called the Fortresses of Mesopotamia. In truth, however, they 
are all Syrian; for whatever lies on this side (or west of) the 
Euphrates belongs to Syria. However, it is to be noted that 
those named first, from Malatyah to Mar'ash, are generally called 
the Mesopotamian Fortresses, because they are always garrisoned 
by the people of Mesopotamia, who make military incursions 
thence into the country of the Greeks ; and they are not so called 
because they really belong to the province of Mesopotamia." 
(Is., 55; I. H, 108.) 

Writing in the fourteenth century, after the overthrow of the 
Frank dominion, Abu-1 Fida remarks : 

" The limits of Syria in our days include the kingdom of 
Little Armenia, which is called the Bilad Sis. The northern 
frontier, therefore, goes from Balis beside the Euphrates, through 
Kala'at Najm, Al Birah, Kala'at ar Rum, Sumaisat, Hisn Mansur, 
Bahasna, Mar'ash, and thence by the Bilad Sis to Tarsus and the 
Mediterranean Sea." (A. F., 226.) 


i. JUND FILASTIN (Palestine) and its sub-districts. Subordinate 
to this district were those of the Tin (the Desert of the Wander- 
ings of the Children of Israel), and of Al Jifar, both lying towards 
the Egyptian Frontier. Of the Jund Filastin, the ancient capital 
(says Ya'kubi) was Ludd (Lydda). The Khalif Sulaiman sub- 
sequently founded the city of Ar Ramlah, which he made the 
capital, and Lydda fell to decay, for its population all removed to 
Ar Ramlah, the new capital.* The same author, who wrote in the 
ninth century of our era, continues : " The population of Palestine 
consists of Arabs of the tribes of Lakhm, Judham, 'Amilah, 
Kindah, Kais and Kinanah." (Yb., 116, 117.) 

" Filastin," write Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, " is the westernmost 
of the provinces of Syria. In its greatest length from Rafh to the 
boundary of Al Lajjun (Legio), it would take a rider two days 
to travel over; and the like time to cross the province in its 
breadth from Yafa (Jaffa) to Riha (Jericho). Zughar (Segor, Zoar) 
and the country of Lot's people (Diyar Kaum Luf] ; Al Jibal (the 
mountains of Edom), and Ash Sharah as far as Ailah Al Jibal 
and Ash Sharah being two separate provinces, but lying contiguous 
one to the other are included in Filastin, and belong to its govern- 

" Filastin is watered by the rains and the dew. Its trees and 
its ploughed lands do not need artificial irrigation ; and it is only 
in Nabulus that you find the running waters applied to this pur- 
pose. Filastin is the most fertile of the Syrian provinces. Its 
capital and largest town is Ar Ramlah, but the Holy City (of 
Jerusalem) comes very near this last in size. In the province of 
Filastin, despite its small extent, there are about twenty mosques, 
with pulpits for the Friday prayer." (Is., 56, 57; I.H., 111-113; 
copied by Id., 3, 4, and A.F., 226.) 

Among the towns of Filastin mentioned as conquered by the 
Arab General 'Amr ibn al 'As, at the invasion, are Ghazzah (Gaza), 
Sabastiyah (Samaria), Nabulus (Shechem), Kaisariyyah (Caesarea), 
Ludd (Lydda), Yubna, 'Amwas (Emmaus), Yafa (Joppa), Rafh, and 
Bait Jibrin. At this last he enclosed a domain to which he gave 
the name of 'Ajlun, after one of his freedmen. (Bil. 138.) 
* See Chapter VIII., " Ar Ramlah." 


" Filastin," writes Yakut, in the thirteenth century, " is the last 
of the provinces of Syria towards Egypt. Its capital is Jerusalem. 
Of the principal towns are 'Askalan, Ar Ramlah, Ghazzah, Arsuf, 
Kaisariyyah, Nabulus, Ariha (Jericho), 'Amman, Yafah, and Bait 
Jibrin. Most part of Filastin is mountainous, and but little plain 
country is met with. This Province is referred to in the Kuran 
(XXI. 71) in the words, 'And we brought Abraham and Lot in 
safety to the land which we have blessed for all human beings.' 
The name is from Filastin, son of Sam, son of Aram, son of Sam 
(Shem) son of Nun (Noah), but there are also other genealogies." 
(Yak. iii., 913; Mar. ii., 362.) 

The District of the Tih belongs to Filastin. Of this Istakhri 
writes : 

" At Tih, the Desert of the Children of Israel is said to be forty 
leagues long and nearly as much across. It is a country full of 
sand. Part of it is sterile, though here and there are palm- 
trees growing, and water in springs. Its limits are the Jifar dis- 
trict on the one side, and Mount Sinai and its district on the 
other. To the north of the Tih lie the outer limits of the Holy 
City and other parts of Palestine ; and its southern frontier is in 
the desert beyond the Rif district of Egypt, lying towards the 
Red Sea." (Is. 53; I.H. 104.) 

"The Tih, or Desert of the Children of Israel," says Mukad- 
dasi, " is a place on the situation of which there is some discussion. 
The most reliable account is that it is the desert country, lying 
between Syria and Egypt, which same is forty leagues across in 
every direction ; everywhere are sand tracts, salt marshes, and red 
sandstone hills, while occasionally palm-trees and springs of water 
may be met with. The limits of this district are, on the one 
hand, the district of Al Jifar, and on the other Mount Sinai ; to 
the west the desert limit is conterminous with the Egyptian pro- 
vince of Ar Rif; and on the other side the Tih goes up to Syria. 
Through it lies the pilgrim road to Makkah." (Muk. 179 ) 

" At Tih," according to Idrisi, " is the land lying between the 
Red Sea and the Syrian Sea. It extends for a space of some seven 
marches, and is called Fahs at Tih (The Region of the Wander- 
ings), for it was here that the children of Israel wandered in the 


time of Moses peace be upon him ! They wandered here during 
forty years without entering any city, or sojourning in any house, 
and no man had change of raiment, neither did any experience 
growth in stature. The length of this region of the Tih is about 
six days' journey." (Id. i and 21.) Yakut epitomises the above, 
and adds nothing new. (Yak. i., 912 ; Mar. i., 123.) 

"Of the desert districts of the Tih of the children of Israel," 
writes Dimashki, " are the Israelitish towns, namely, Kadas (Kadesh 
Barnea), Huwairak, Al Khalasah (Elusa), Al Khalus (Lyssa), As 
Saba' (Beersheba), and Al Madurah all these belonging to the 
Tih." (Dim. 213.) 

The District of Al Jifar, often counted as belonging to Filastin, 
is thus described by Istakhri : 

"The district called Al Jifar (the Wells or Waterpits) is the 
tract of country extending from the borders of the Lake of Tinnis 
(in Egypt) to the frontiers of Filastin. It is a country of continuous 
fine and coloured sand, dotted about with palm-trees and habita- 
tions, with water here and there. The frontiers of the Jifar are 
the Mediterranean, the Desert of the Tih, Palestine, and the Sea 
of Tinnis, with the adjoining lands going from Rif of Egypt to the 
border of Kulzum (the Red Sea). There are found in this dis- 
trict serpents a span long, who spring up from the sand into the 
camel-litters and bite the riders. The Egyptians say in their 
histories that in the days of Pharaoh the Jifar was built over 
everywhere with towns." (Is., 52 ; I. H., 103 ; copied by Yak. 
ii., 90 ; Mar. i., 258.) 

2. JUND AL URDUNN (the Jordan Province). Subordinate to 
this is the District of the Ghaur, or cleft of the Jordan River, and 
the country of the Dead Sea. Of the Jordan Province the capital 
is Tabariyyah, Tiberias. Ibn al Fakih writes : 

"Of its districts (Kurah) are Tabariyyah, As Samirah (Samaria), 
which is Nabulus, Baisan, Fahl (Pella) Jarash, 'Akka (Acre), Al 
Kadas (Kadesh Naphthali), and Sur (Tyre)." (I. F., 116; copied 
by Id., 21 ; and others.) 

The Ghaur (the cleft of the Lower Jordan). According to 
Ya'kubi this is : " An outlying district of the Damascus Province. 
Its capital is Riha (Jericho)." (Yb., 113.; 


"The Ghaur," says Istakhri-Ibn-Haukal, "is the -country of 
Lot's people, and of the Stinking Lake (Dead Sea). All the rest 
of Filastin is higher than this part, and its waters flow down into 
it. The Ghaur begins at the Lake of Tiberias, and going by 
Baisan extends past Zughar and Riha down to the Dead Sea. 
The word Ghaur means 'a cleft between mountains,' cutting 
down into the earth. There are all along its course palm-trees, 
meadows, springs and streams. No snow that falls ever lies here. 
The Ghaur, as far south as Baisan, belongs to the Urdunn 
province, but below this it belongs to Filastin. This same deep 
valley extends still further south, and at length reaches Ailah." 
(Is., 56, 58 ; I. H., in, 113; copied by A. F., 226.) 
Idrisi writes : 

" Al Ghaur includes the Diyar Kaum Lut (the country of Lot's 
people) and the Stinking Sea, being all the land from Zughar up 
to Baisan and Tabariyyah. The Ghaur (cleft) is so called because 
it is a valley between two ranges of hills. All the waters of Syria 
descend into it, and are collected there, forming one mighty stream 
(the Jordan), whose origin is in the Lake of Tiberias, near the 
city of Tabariyyah. 

"The other rivers of Syria flow into the Jordan, such as the 
Nahr al Yarmuk (Hieromax), the streams of Baisan, and those 
which flow from the district of Maab, and the mountains of the 
Holy City, and the mountains of Abraham's Sepulchre (Hebron) 
peace be on him as also what waters come down from Nabulus. 
All these are collected together into the Ghaur, and flow thence 
into the Lake of Zughar, the Dead Sea. 

" Ariha (Jericho), with 'Amta and Baisan are the finest of the 
cities of the valley of the Ghaur. The principal crop of the 
Ghaur is indigo. Its inhabitants are brown-skinned, and some of 
them even are almost black." (Id., 3.) 

" There are many Ghaurs," says Yakut, " for Ghaur means 
1 crevasse.' The Ghaur of the Jordan lies between Jerusalem and 
1 )amascus. It is three days' journey in length, and less than half 
a day across. In it runs the Jordan. The Lake of Tabariyyah 
lies at its upper end, the Dead Sea at its lower. Its principal 
town is Baisan, which is on its edge. It is a low-lying and very 


hot country. What they grow most here is sugar-cane.* Of its 
towns is Ariha (Jericho), the city of the giants. At the western 
(or southern) end of the Ghaur, is the Stinking Sea, and at its 
eastern (or northern) end is the Sea of Tiberias." (Yak., iii., 
823 ; Mar. ii., 322.) 

" To the Jordan province," says Yakut, " belong the Kurahs of 
Tabariyyah, Baisan, Bait Ras, Jadar, Saffuriyyah (Sepphoris), Sur 
(Tyre), 'Akkah, and others. Baisan, Afik, Jarash, Bait Ras, Al 
Jaulan, 'Akkah, Sur, and Saffuriyyah, were all taken during the 
first conquest of the Arab armies." (Yak., i., 201.) 

3. JUND DIMASHK. Subordinate to the Damascus Province 
were the districts of the great plain of the Ghutah (or Ghautah) 
round the city, and most of the districts to the south, which lay 
east of the Jordan Cleft and the Dead Sea. 

"Of the Damascus Province," writes Ya'kubi, "are (the eastern 
lands of) the Ghaur, the Hauran, and the Bathaniyyah. The 
outlying districts are the Balka, (the southern portion of) the 
Ghaur, and Al Jibal." (Yb ,113.) 

Ibn al Fakih states that : 

'Of the Kurahs of the Damascus Province are Iklirn Sanir, 
Kurah Jubail, the districts of Bairut, Saida, Bathaniyyah, Hauran, 
Jaulan ; also the outlying parts of the Balka, and the various dis- 
tricts of the Ghaur. Further, Kurah Maab, and Jibal ash Sharah, 
Busra, 'Amman, Al Jabiyah, and Al Kariyatain. Also the dis- 
tricts of Al Hulah and Al Bika'. The coast towns of Damascus 
are Saida (Sidon), Bairut, Atrabulus (Tripoli), 'Arkah, and Sur 
(Tyre). Of the last, Tyre, the mosque belongs to Damascus, but 
the Kharaj (or land tax) to the Jordan province." (I. F., 105, 
writing in the year 903.) 

" Eastwards of the Urdunn Province (says Idrisi) lies the 
Damascus province. Of its Kurahs are, the Plain of the Ghautah 
round Damascus, the land of Ba'albakk, Al Bika' (Ccelo Syria), 
Iklim Lubnan (the Lebanon), Kurah Juniyyah, and the Hulah, 
the districts of Atrabulus, Jubail, Bairut, Saida ; the Bathaniyyah 
district, the Hauran, the Jaulan, the outlying country of Al 
Balka, Kurah Jibrin of the Ghaur, the districts of Maab, 
* This was in the thirteenth century. 


'Amman, and Ash Sharah, with the land round Busra and Al 

" Eastward of the Damascus Province lies the (Syrian) desert, 
and south of it is the Ard as Samawah (the Great Desert of 
Arabia), and the Ard 'Ad (the country of the ancient 'Adites). To 
the north lie the 'Awasim and Kinnasrin Provinces." (Id, 21; 
repeated from I. Kh., 72.) 

Al Ghutah (or Al Ghautah), " the Garden I,and," is the district 
immediately surrounding the city of Damascus. In Ya'kubi's time, 
at the close of the ninth century, it was still peopled by various 
tribes of the ancient Ghassanide race, whose kings had ruled in 
these countries before the Arab conquest. (Yb., 113.) 

" The Ghutah," says Mukaddasi, " is a day's journey (or about 
thirty miles across each way), and beautiful beyond all description." 
(Muk., 1 60.) 

" The Plain of the Ghutah," according to Yakut, writing in the 
thirteenth century, "is eighteen miles round, and is surrounded 
on all sides by high mountains, more especially to the north. It 
is watered by many rivers which irrigate its fields and gardens. 
The overflow of these goes into a lake (to the east of Damascus) 
and into the swamps. Water is found everywhere, and no place 
is pleasanter. It is one of the four paradises of the earth.'' 
(Yak., iii. 825 ; Mar., ii. 324.) 

Hauran (Auranitis) and Al Bathaniyyah (Bathanea). Ya'kubi, 
in 891, states : 

"The Hauran district has for its capital Busra." (Yb., 113.) 

Istakhri and Ibn Haukal in the tenth century write : 

" The Hauran and Al Bathaniyyah are two great districts of the 
Damascus Province. Their fields are rain-watered. The frontiers 
of these two districts extend down to Nimrin, which is on the 
Balka district, .and 'Amman. Of this we have it noted in the 
books of history that Nimra is of the best of the waters of the Tank 
called the Haud, which last lay between Busra and Amman." 
(Is, 65; I.H., 124.) 

There is here doubtless an allusion derived possibly from a 
Jewish source to the " waters of Nimrim " of Isaiah xv. 6, and to 
the " Nimrah " of Numbers xxxii. 3. The Hand, or " Tank," is that 



mentioned in a Tradition of the Prophet as having existed of old 
in these parts. Its waters, it is said, were whiter than milk and 
sweeter than honey. The name Nimrin, it should be noted, is of 
frequent occurrence in the Trans-Jordan district. 

The Hauran is mentioned by Yakut (thirteenth century) as a 
large district full of villages and very fertile, lying south of 
Damascus. (Yak., ii. 358 ; Mar., i. 328.) 

From the Hauran and Bathaniyyah into Damascus is two days' 
march. (Is., I.H., Yak., Muk.) 

"Of Al Bathaniyyah, the capital is Adra'ah." (Yb., 113.) 

"Al Bathaniyyah," says Yakut, "or Al Bathanah, is a district 
near Damascus. Al Bathanah is said to be a village lying be- 
tween Damascus and Adra'ah, from which Job came." (Yak., i. 
493 ; Mar., i. 126). 

Al Jaulan (Gaulonitis). Ya'kubi, in 891, writes : 

"Of Al Jaulan, the capital is Baniyas." (Yb., 114.) 

" The Jaulan district," writes Mukaddasi, " supplies Damascus 
with the most part of its provisions." (Muk., 160.) 

" Al Jaulan," says Yakut, " is a district in the Hauran, and of 
the Damascus Province. Al Jaulan is also said to be the name of 
a mountain called more exactly Harith al Jaulan ; others say 
Harith is the name for the summit of the mountain only." (Yak., 
ii. 159; Mar., i. 273.) 

Al Jaidfir (Itursea). Yakut, in the thirteenth century, 
states : 

" Al Jaidtir is a district belonging to the Damascus Province, 
and lying to the north of the Hauran. It is said the Jaidur and 
the Jaulan form but one Kurah (or district)." (Yak., ii. 173 : 
Mar., i. 277.) 

Al Hulah. Mukaddasi writes : 

" The province of the Hulah (round the waters of Meron) pro- 
duces much cotton and rice ; it is low-lying, and has numerous 
streams. - ; (Muk., 160.) 

"Al Hulah," says Yakut, "is a district lying between Baniyas 
and Sur (Tyre), but belonging to Damascus. It has many 
villages." (Yak., ii. 366 ; Mar., i. 330.) 

Al Balka (Penea). According to Ya'kitbi : 


" Al Balka is one of the outlying districts of the Damascus 
Province. Its capital is 'Amman." (Yb., 113.) 

It is mentioned by Yakut as possessing many villages, and is 
noted for its wheat-crops. (Yak., i. 728; Mar., i. 171.) From 
the Balka into Jerusalem is two days' march. (Is., I.H., Id.) 

Ash Sharah. Ya'kubi says : 

" Of the district of Ash Sharah (the mountains of Moab) the 
capital is Adhruh." (Yb., 114.) 

" This district," says Istakhri in the tenth century, " is extremely 
fertile and rich, only the Bedawin Arabs have the upper hand 
here, and so ruin all." (Is., 57 ; I.H., 113.) 

" Ash Sharah," writes Idrisi, " is a fine province, whose capital 
is Adhruh. Both the Sharah and Jibal districts are extremely 
fertile, producing quantities of olive-trees, and almonds, figs, 
grapes, and pomegranates. The inhabitants are mostly of the 
Kaisite tribes." (Id., 5.) 

Ash Sharah, according to Y'akut, is the mountainous country 
through which the Hajj road from Damascus passes. (Yak., iii. 
270 ; Mar., ii. 100.) 

From Jabal ash Sharah to Zughar is one day's march. (Is., 
l.H.) Down to the limit of Ash Sharah is also one day's march 
(Is., I.H.), while to Zughar, and thence to the further limit of the 
Jabal ash Sharah, is two days' march, according to Idrisi. 

It will be noted that the district of Ash Sharah is sometimes 
also counted as forming part of the Filastin Province. (See above, 
p. 28.) 

Al Jibal (Gebalene). According to Ya'kubi : 

"Al Jibal is one of the outlying districts of the Damascus 
Province. Its capital is 'Arandal." (Yb., 114.) 

"Jibal," says Idrisi, " is a fine province, the capital of which is 
called Darab." (Id., 5.) 

The reading of this last name is uncertain; in the MSS. of 
Istakhri and Ibn Haukal the name is variously given as Ruwat, 
Ruwath, and Ruwad. (Is., 57 ; I.H., 113.) 

4. JUND HIMS (the Emessa Province). Mukaddasi writes : 

"Its capital bears the same name. Among its cities are 
Salamiyyah, Tadmur (Palmyra), Al Khunasirah, Kafar Tab, Al 



Ladhikiyyah (I^aodicea), Jabalah (Byblos), Antarsus (Tortosa), 
Bulunyas and Hisn al Khawabi." (Muk., 154. Given in much 
the same words by I.H , ITO.) 

The Hims Jund, as before noted (p. 25), originally comprised 
all the country to the north of Damascus, which afterwards was 
subdivided among the Junds of Kinnasrin and 'Awasim, and the 
Thughur, or Frontier Fortresses. 

The southern boundary line of the Hims Province, according 
to Yakut, lay immediately to the south of Karah, while its northern 
limit lay beyond the village of Al Karashiyyah. Eastward the 
Hims Province included the village Al Kariyatain and Palmyra 
(see Part II., under these names). 

5. JUND KINNASRIN. The Kinnasrin Jund, after Harun ar 
Rashid's time, when the 'Awasim had been formed into a separate 
province, was circumscribed to the country round Kinnasrin and 
Aleppo, with the two Ma'arrahs, and the Sarmin territory. 

6. JUND AL ' AWASIM (or of the Strongholds). Ibn al Fakih 
writes : 

" In the days of the Khalifs 'Omar and 'Othman the Muslim 
frontier fortresses lay round Antakiyyah (Antioch), and the 
districts which later Ar Rashid formed into the Jund of the 
'Awasim. These are Kurah Kurus, Al Jumah, Manbij, Antakiyyah 
Tuzin, Balis, and Rusafah-Hisham. What lands lay beyond, the 
Muslims made their raids into, and these the Greeks raided like- 
wise. Between Al Iskandariyyah and Tarsus were fortresses and 
magazines belonging to the Greeks." (I. F., in.) 

" The Khalif ar Rashid made Manbij the capital of the 'Awasim 
Jund ; which further comprised the districts of Manbij, Duluk, 
Ra'ban, Kurus, Antakiyyah and Tizin (or Tuzin), with the inter- 
vening places." (Bil., 132; Yak., iii. 742.) 

Abu-1 Fida (1321), a late authority, mentions Antakiyyah as the 
capital of the 'Awasim, and says the province originally included 
the districts of Shaizar, Afamiyyah and adjacent territories ; also 
the Lebanon region as far as the region of Al Kastal, lying between 
Hims and Damascus. (A. F., 233.) 

Yakut, writing a century earlier, after quoting Biladhuri (as 
above), adds, the 'Awasim were all the Strongholds lying between 


lialab and Antakiyyah. Some counted Aleppo as included among 
thoc, while others gave it the Kinnasrin Jund. The ' Awasim 
territory is for the most part mountainous, and both Al Massissah 
and Tarsus have often been included in this province. Manbij 
was its early capital, and afterwards Antakiyyah. (Yak., iii. 742 ; 
Mar., ii. 287.) 

7. ATH THUGHR (or the Frontier Fortresses). 

" These," writes Yakut, " lie along the northern frontier between 
Syria and the Greek country. It was here the Muslims lived in 
garrison, who volunteered for the guarding of the frontiers ; as 
likewise some lay encamped on the coast to protect the land from 
the incursions of the Greeks in their ships. Such ' fortresses ' are 
Tarsus, Adhanah (Adana), and Al Massissah (Mopsuestia), also 
those in the Halab and the 'Awasim territories. This district of the 
Thughur has no capital, all the towns are of about equal size, and 
each is the chief town of its own district. Of the Thughur are 
the following : Bayyas, whence to Al Iskandariyyah is one march ; 
and from Bayyas to Al Massissah is two marches. 'Ain Zarbah 
and Adhanah both lie one march from Al Massissah. From 
Adhanah to Tarsus is one day ; Tarsus to Al Jauzat is two days ; 
Tarsus to Aulas on the sea is two days ; Bayyas to Al Kanisah as 
Sauda is less than one day ; and Bayyas to Al Haruniyyah is the 
same ; Al Haruniyyah to Mar'ash, a fortress of the Mesopotamian 
district, is less than a day. Antakiyyah and Baghras are celebrated 
towns of the Thughur. In the days of the Khalif 'Omar, and for 
some time afterwards, the frontier fortresses lay north of Antioch 
and its towns, and this district came afterwards to be called the 
'Awasim. Between Iskandariyyah and Tarsus were many fortresses 
belonging to the Greeks, similar to those which at the present day 
belong to the Muslims. The Muslims in those early days blocked 
the Darb (Pass of) Baghras. This was first accomplished by 
Maisarah ibn Masruk, of the family of 'Abbas, who was despatched 
by Abu 'Ubaidah (in the days of the early conquest), as some say ; 
others say this blocking of the pass was done by 'Umair ibn Sa'ad 
al 'Ansari ; others, that it was only completed when the Khalif 
Mu'awiyah raided against 'Ammuriyyah (Armoricum) in the year 
25 (646). 


" The Khalif Mu'awiyah raided again in the year 31 also, setting 
out from near Al Massissah and penetrating as far as Darawaliyah. 
On his return he destroyed all the fortresses belonging to the 
Greeks between this place and Antakiyyah. After the first con- 
quest Tarsus, Adhanah, and Al Massissah, with the other for- 
tresses adjoining, did not cease to remain in Muslim hands till 
they fell to the Greeks, after the battle of Magharat al Kuhl, in 
the year 349 (960), when the Greek armies defeated Saif ad Daulah 
and drove him back on Halab. Then in 351 the Greeks came 
down against Halab also, and Saif ad Daulah, with the other Turk 
Amirs in Syria, lost all power, and retired to Miyafarikin across 
the Euphrates. Al Massissah and Tarsus were then refortified by 
the Greeks, as also all the other frontier fortresses in their hands. 
This was in the year 354 (965), and Tarsus, with the rest, remain 
in their hands to the present day (thirteenth century), and are 
governed by Leo the King of the Armenians." (Yak, i. 927 ; 
Mar., i. 228 ) 

" The Thughur," says Dimashki, "are divided into two sections : 
the Thughur of Syria and the Thughur of Mesopotamia. These 
are divided each from the other by the Jabal al Lukkam. 

"The Mesopotamia!! fortresses are Malatiyyah which the 
Greeks call Maltaya, and it lies a mile from the Euphrates ; 
Kamakh, to the west of the Euphrates ; Shamshat, also west of the 
Euphrates ; Al Birah, east of the Euphrates ; Hisn Mansur; Kala'at 
ar Rum, west of the Euphrates ; Hadath al Hamra ; Mar'ash, first 
built by Khalid ibn al Walid, rebuilt by the Khalif Marwan ibn al 
Hakim, and afterwards again by the Khalif al Mansur. 

"The Syrian fortresses are Tarsus, Adhanah, Al Massissah, and 
Haruniyyah, built by Harun ar Rashid, in the early days of his 
father's Khalifate. Also Sis, called Sisah ; when the Armenians 
took it they made it the capital of their kingdom (of Little Arme- 
nia) ; Ayas, called also Ayagh this last is the port of Sis on the 
sea." (Dim., 214.) 

Such were the Junds, or military districts, of Syria, down to 
the tenth century of our era. Already, however, and apparently 
even before that epoch, the system, being no longer required for 


the cantonment of troops, had begun to fall into disorganiza- 

Mukaddasi in 985 describes Syria as divided into six districts, 
which differ in some minor points from the original Junds. The 
difference, however, is more apparent than real. Further, some of 
the names in Mukaddasi's lists would appear to have been trans- 
posed by the copyists. Mukaddasi's six districts are : 

" i. The District of Kinnasrm. Its capital is Halab (Aleppo), 
and among its cities are Antakiyyah (Antioch), Balis, As-Suwai- 
diyyah, Sumaisat (Samasata), Manbij, Bayyas, At-Tinah, Kinnasrin, 
Mar'ash, Iskandarunah, *Lajjun, *Rafaniyyah, *Jusiyah, *Hamah, 
*Shaizar, *Wadi-Butnan, Ma'arrah-an-Nu'man, Ma'arrah-Kinnas- 

" 2. The District of Uims (mesa).Its capital bears the same 
name. Among its cities are : Salamiyyah, Tadmur (Palmyra), 
Al-Khunasirah, Kafar-Tab, Al-Ladhikiyyah, Jabalah, Antarsus, 
Bulunyas, Hisn al Khawabi. 

" 3. The District of Dimashk (Damascus). Its capital is of the 
same name. Among its cities are : Baniyas, Darayya, Saida (Sidon), 
Bairut, Atrabulus (Tripoli), 'Arkah, and the district of the Bika', of 
which the chief city is Ba'albakk, and to which appertain the 
towns of Kamid, 'Arjamush, and Az-Zabadani. 

" The province of Damascus includes six districts, namely, the 
Ghutah, Hauran, the Bathaniyyah, the Jaulan, the Bika', and the 

"4. The District of Al-Urdunn (the Jordan). Its capital is 
Tabariyyah (Tiberias). Among its towns are : Kadas, Stir (Tyre), 
'Akka (Acre), Al-Faradhiyyah, Al-I^jjun, Kabtil, Baisan, and 

" 5. The District of Filastm (Palestine). \te capital is Ar- 
Ramlah. Among its cities are : Bait-al-Makdis (Jerusalem), Bait 
Jibril, Ghazzah (Gaza), Maimas, 'Askalan (Ascalon), Yafah 
(Joppa), Arsuf, Kaisariyyah (Csesarea), Nabulus (Shechem), Ariha 
(Jericho), and 'Amman. 

" 6. The District of Ash-Sharah, and for its capital we should 
put Sughar. Its chief towns are : Maab, 'Ainuna, Mu'an, Tabtik, 
Adhruh, Wailah, and Madyan." (Muk., 156.) 


In the Kinnasrin district the names marked with an asterisk 
(*) are in another list given by Mukaddasi (Muk., 54) assigned to 
the Hims Province. Even thus, however, the lists are a good 
deal in confusion, as may be seen by a reference to the map ; for 
while Rafaniyyah, and Jusiyah may very rightly be assigned to 
the Hims district, Al Khunasirah, and Kafar Tab, given to Hims 
in the second (*) list, in reality lie far to the north of the boundary 

Mukaddasi further places Adhri'ah, generally noted as the 
capital of the Bathaniyyah district (a dependency of the Damascus 
Province), among the towns of the Urdunn Province. The 
boundary line between the Damascus and Jordan Provinces appears 
to have been somewhat ill-defined, and the lands lying immediately 
to the east of the Jordan Cleft were at times counted as of the 
one province and at times of the other. 

This system of military Junds received its final death-blow in 
the twelfth century, on the coming of the Crusaders and the in- 
stitution of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem with the baronies and 
counties dependent thereon. After Saladin and his successors 
had expelled the Christians, and re-established the Muslim do- 
minion, Syria and Palestine nominally belonged to the ruler of 
Egypt, but in point of fact was divided up among a number of 
minor Sultans, the descendants of Saladin and his brothers. 
Dimashki, writing in 1300, states that since the rise of the Turk 
power (meaning the house of Saladin), Syria had been divided 
into nine Kingdoms (Mamfak&t). The exact limits of each 
are not easy to define, for the accidents of war and of dis- 
puted succession among Saladin's descendants rendered these 
" Kingdoms " far from stable. The list of the nine kingdoms, 
however, is as follows, as given by Dimashki : 

i. The Kingdom of Damascus, the largest in point of size and 
the most influential, since Damascus was still the capital of 

" It includes," says Dimashki, " ninety districts (Iklim)." Many 
of them he enumerates. It will be sufficient, however, to state 
that in the Damascus kingdom were included the lands of the 
Ghautah Plain in all its length and breadth ; the Lebanon moun- 


tains, with the plain of Coelo-Syria and Ba'albakk ; the- \V;':di 
Barada, and northward along the Hims Road the country as 
far as Kara ; the districts of Laja (Trachonitis), Jaulan, Hauran and 
Bathaniyyah : and the Balka. Further, to Damascus at one time 
belonged Jerusalem, and Ar Ramlah with its territories, also 
Nal mlus, the whole of the Ghaur of the Jordan, upper, middle, 
and lower ; Hebron ; with all the coast towns, such as 'Askalan, 
Kaisariyyah, Yafa, 'Akka, Saida, Sur, and Bairut. (Dim., 198-202.) 

2. South of this lay the Kingdom of Ghazzah (Gaza), the capital 
of which was anciently called Ghazzah Hashim. " It is a city so 
rich in trees as to be like a cloth of brocade spread out on the 
sand. To the Ghazzah Kingdom at times were counted 'Askalan, 
which belonged to the Franks, and which the Muslims took and 
destroyed; Ycifa (Jaffa), Kaisariyyah, Arsuf, Ad Darun, and Al 

" Of towns lying between the coast and the mountains belonging 
at times to Ghaz/ah are : Tall Himar, Tall as Safiyah, Karatayya, 
Bait Jibrail, Madinah Khalil (Hebron), Bait al Mukaddas (Jeru- 
salem). Each of these has a separate governor." (Dim., 213.) 

3. The Kingdom of Karak. " Here are Karak and Shaubak. To 
it belong Ma'an, the village of Mutah, Al Lajjun, Al Hisa, Al 
Azrak, As Salt, Wadi Musa, the territory of Madyan, Kulzum, 
Ar Rayyan ; also in the Ghaur, Az Zarka and Al Azrak ; Al Jifar, 
At Tih (the Desert of the Wanderings), with 'Amman, of which 
only the ruins remain ; and the territory of Al Balka. The Iklim 
Al Jibal is also included in the Karak kingdom ; its chief town 
is Ash Sharah, and the city of Kab, which lies twelve miles from 
it." (Dim, 213.) 

4. The Kingdom of Safad. " Its capital is Safad. To it belong 
Marj 'Ayyun (Ijon), Al Lajjun (Legio, Megiddo), to which belongs 
Al 'Ashir and Al Hawa, Jinin (Ginaea), with 'Akka, Sur (Tyre) 
and Saida (Sidon)." (Dim, 210-212.) 

5. The Kingdom of Tarabulus. where are the castles of the 
sect of the Assassins. 

6. The Kingdom of Hims, anciently the Hims Jund. " Hims 
is the capital, and the seat of government. It is the smallest of 
the Turkish Governments of Syria ; but of its dependencies are 


Shamsin, Shumaimis, and'thecity of Salamiyyah with four districts." 
(Dim., 202.) 

7. The Kingdom of If amah. " Hamah is the capital ; and of 
its districts are : Barin, a strong fortress ; also Salamiyyah on the 
border of the desert (or else this belongs to Hims)." (Dim., 

8. The Kingdom of Halab (Aleppo). " Halab is the capital. 
Besides the 'Awasim district, Halab possesses the following : Al 
Khunasirah, on the border of the desert ; and Jabal Bani-1 Ka'ku, 
which used to be called Kasrain ath Thaniyah ; and Kinnasrin, 
which was the ancient capital prior to Halab. This last is an 
ancient Roman city, and its name of old was Suma. 

" Among other places are Manbij, on the Euphrates, built by 
one of the Chosroes, and called Manbih, meaning ' most excellent.' 
In its dependencies is Kala'ah Najm, called also Jisr Manbij. 
Tall Bashir, by which runs the river As Sajur, down from 'Ain Tab. 
Kala'ah ar Rum, where the Khalifah of Armenia and the Patriarch 
dwell. Also Yaghra, situated on a fresh-water lake formed by the 
Nahr al 'Aswad, and lying between the lake and Baghras and 
Antakiyyah. Haruniyyah, built by Harun ar Rashid, and many 
other places. In all, there are sixty districts belonging to Aleppo, 
each with gardens and lands adjoining." (Dim., 202-206.) 

9. The Kingdom of Rum. " North of the Kingdom of Aleppo 
lies the kingdom governed by the Tartars, the Armenians, and 
the Greeks. This in reality is separate from Syria, and is called 
the Kingdom of Rum." (Dim., 192.) 

The author of the Muthir, writing in the year 1351, gives the 
following as the political divisions of Syria at his date. He has 
been copied verbatim by Suyuti, and other later writers : 

"The first town of Syria is Balis, and the last Al Arish, of 
Egypt. Syria is divided into five districts, namely : 

" i. Filastin, whose capital is Ilaya (^Elia, Jerusalem), eighteen 
miles from Ar-Ramlah, which is the Holy City, the metropolis 
of David and Solomon. Of its towns are Ascalon, Hebron, 
Sibastiyah, and Nabulus. 

"2. Hauran, whose capital is Tiberias, with its lake, whereof 
mention occurs in the traditions anent Gog and Magog. It is 


said that at the time of the birth of the Prophet to whom Allah 
give blessing and peace ! the lake overflowed. Of its territories 
are those of the Ghaur, of the Yarmilk (Hieromax), and of Baisan 
(Bethshean, Scythopolis), which is the town of whose palm-trees 
the Antichrist (Ad Dajjal) will inquire. Also Al Urdunn (the 
Jordan), more often called Ash Shari'ah. 

" 3. The Ghutah. Its capital is Damascus ; Tripoli is on its 

"4. Hims (Emessa). The name of the province, and of its 
chief town. Of its dependencies is the city of Salamaniyah 

"5. Kinnasrin. Its chief town is Aleppo, and of its depen- 
dencies are Sarmin and Antioch." (Muth. I., in S., vol. xix. of 
J.R.A.S., p. 296.) 

In the beginning of the fifteenth century the possession of Syria 
was wrested from the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt by the Ottoman 
Turks of Constantinople. The Mamluks were defeated in a great 
battle, by Sultan Selim, in the plains to the north of Aleppo (1518), 
and Syria became a province of the Turkish Empire. 


The Rtvenues of Syria. Several statements have come down to 
us of the revenues of the districts of Ash Sham, during the period 
immediately preceding the Crusades, when that province formed 
an integral portion of the Muslim Empire. 

The sums are reckoned in Dinars and Dirhams, the standard 
gold and silver coins instituted by the Omayyad Khalif 'Abd al 
Malik, about the year 72 (691). The names Dinar and Dirham 
the Arabs borrowed from denarius and drachma, denarius being 
the name of the silver coin among the Romans, which the Greeks 
termed the drachma. In passing to the Arabs, however, denarius, 
or Dinar, came to be the name of their gold coin, worth, in the 
ninth and tenth centuries, something under ten shillings. It 
weighs rather over 59 \ grains Troy. The drachma, or Dirham, 
continued the name of the silver coin with the Muslims, and 
during the same period was exchanged at the rate of about fifteen 
Dirhams to the gold Dinar. The Dirham weighs about 47 \ grains 


Troy, and, at the ratio of gold and silver of those early days, was 
worth about eightpence. 

To form, however, a just idea of what the sums named in the 
following lists represent in the currency of the present day, some 
account must be taken of the depreciation of the purchasing power 
of gold and silver, since the discovery of the New World in the 
fifteenth century. Previous to that period, as it is generally 
estimated, an ounce of gold commanded an amount of food and 
labour which would be paid by three ounces at the present day. 
Hence, though a Dinar be the equivalent in gold of about ten 
shillings sterling, it was equal to at least thirty shillings in pur- 
chasing power of the moneys of the present day. With regard to 
the silver coin, the Dirhani, a like calculation has to be made, 
which further has to be modified if we take into account the 
great depreciation which silver has suffered in modern times. 
An ounce of gold in Mukaddasi's days bought, approximately 
speaking, 12 ounces of silver, while at the present day (1889) for 
an ounce of gold we should get some 22 J ounces of silver. 
Therefore, though the Dirham is worth intrinsically about eight- 
pence, but would, as one fifteenth part of a gold Dinar, purchase 
goods, at the present day, for the value of three times this amount 
(i.e. two shillings) silver itself having now so much fallen in 
value, the purchasing power of the Dirham's weight of silver is 
reduced to almost half this latter amount, and in the currency of 
to-day it may therefore be reckoned at somewhat over the shilling. 

i. The earliest date of which we have details of the Revenues 
of the Muslim Empire is the account preserved by Ibn Khaldun, 
in the " Prolegomena " of his Universal History, a work written in 
the fourteenth century A.D. 

Ibn Khaldun says he copied the account from a work called 
Jirah ad Daulah ("The Provision-Sack of the State"), and that it 
represents the tribute paid during the reign of the Khalif al 
Mamun. Internal evidence, however, makes it certain that the 
statement refers to a date about half a century before the days of 
Al Mamun; namely, to the Khalifate of his grandfather, Al 
Mahdi that is, between 158 and 170 A.M., or about 780 A.D 
The original Arabic will be found in the first volume of the Cairo 


edition of the text of Ibn Khaldun, at page 150. The figures in 
brackets are readings from other MSS. given by De Slane in his 
translation of the " Prolegomena " (vol. i. 364) : 


Kinnasrin Province . 400,000 (420,000), phis a thousand loads of olive-oil. 
Hims Province . Wanting. 

Damascus Province . 420,000. 
Jordan Province . 97,000 (96,000). 

\ 310,000, plus 300,000 Rails (Syrian pounds) of olive- 
Filastin Province . j J 

( oil. 

Total : i 227,000 (1,246,000) Dinars, about ,620,000 sterling intrinsically, 
or something short of two millions sterling of our money. 

2. During the reign of Harun ar Rashid (A.H. 170 to 193) 
about the year 800 A.D., a summary of the revenues of the Muslim 
Empire was prepared for the use of the Wazir Yahya, the Barme- 
cide. This summary is preserved in the Kitab al Wusard, " The 
Book of the Wazirs," written by Al Jahshiyari ; it was brought to 
the notice of the Seventh Orientalist Congress at Vienna by A. 
von Kremer, and parts of the text were published by him in the 
Transactions ( Verhandlungen^ Semitische Section. Wien^ 1888). 

According to this work the following were the sums received by 
the treasury during the reign of the great Khalif. They are 
identical in most cases with Ibn Khaldun's list already given : 

Kinnasrin and Al 'Awasim Provinces . 470,000. 

Hims Province. . j 3 20 ' 000 ' P lus '. camel-loads of 

( raisins. 

Damascus Province . . . . 420,000. 

Jordan Province . . . 96,000. 

Filastin Province . . . 310,000. 

And in addition, from all the Syrian Junds together, 300,000 Ratls 
(Syrian pounds) of raisins. 

Total : 1,616,000 Dinars, or about 808,000 sterling, equivalent to nearly 
two and a half millions of our present currency. 

3. The next statement of the Revenues dates from a period half 
* Az Zabib, probably a mistake in the MS. for Az Za*/, " olive-oil." 


a century later than the foregoing. It is given by Kudamah in his 
work called Kitab al Kharaj ("The Book of the Land Tax"), 
written about the year 880 A.D., and purports to have been copied 
from official lists of the year 204 A.H. (820). He gives the sums 
in both Dinars and their equivalent Dirhams. 

Extracts from Kudamah's text will be found in De Slane's paper 
in the Journal Asiatique for the year 1862, from which the follow- 
ing is copied : 

Dtndrs, or in Dirhams. 

Kinnasrin and 'Avvasim Provinces . . . 360,000 5,400,000 

Hims Province ..... 118,000 1,770,000 

Damascus Province ..... 120,000 i,8oo,oco 

Jordan Province ..... 109,000 1,635,000 

Filastin Province ..... 195,000 2,925,000 

This makes a total of 902,000 Dinars, equivalent 10^451,000 intrinsically, 
close on a million and a half in our present currency. 

4. Ibn Khurdadbih, in his Book of the Roads and the Provinces, 
gives the following sums. The text will be found on pages 7 1 and 
73 of the extracts given by Barbier de Meynard in the Journal 
Asiatique for the year 1865. Ibn Khurdadbih's figures are also 
identical with those given by Ibn al Fakih, who wrote in 903. 
(I. F., 103, 105, no, in, and 116.) Ibn Khurdadbih drew his 
account from the official lists giving the revenues of the years 
immediately preceding the writing of his book that is, about 
A.I). 864: 

Dindrs, or in Dirhams. 

Kinnasrin and 'Awasim Provinces . . . 400,000 6,000,000 

Hims Province . . 340,000 5, 100,000 

Damascus Province . . . 400,000 6,000,000 

Jordan Province . . . 350,000 3,250,000 

Filastin Province . . . 500,000 7,500,000 

The total is 1,990,000 Dinars, or about a million sterling, equivalent, how- 
ever, to three millions of the present currency. 

5. Ibn Khurdadbih, besides the figures just given, cites the 
following on the authority of Al Isfahani, who flourished in the 
earlier part of the ninth century A.D. : 



Hims Province . . . . . . . . . under 180,000 

Damascus Province . . . ' ,, 140,000 

Jordan Province . . . , . ,, 175,000 

Filastin Province . . . . . . . ,, 175,000 

This makes a total of only 670,000 Dinars, or ^335, ooo, equivalent to 
about a million sterling of the present currency. 

6. Yakubi, who wrote his Geography in 891, gives the following 



Hims Province, not including state farms . . , . . 220,000 

Damascus Province, including state farms . . . . 300,000 

Jordan Province, without the farms . . . . 100,000 

Filastin Province, including farms . '.. , . . 300,000 

Making a total of 920,000 Dinars, that is ^460,000 equivalent to rather 
under a million and a half of our currency. (Yb. 112, 115, 116, and 117.) 

7. According to Ibn Haukal (I. H., 128), the revenue of Syria 
in A.H. 296 (908), and in A.H. 306 (918), after deduction of the 
pay of the officers, was 39,000,000 Dirhams ; that is ^1,300,000, 
equivalent to almost four millions of the present day. 

8. Ibn al Fakih, and Ibn Khurdadbih's figures, are copied by 
Mukaddasi, who, however, gives the following as the revenue in 
his own days, A.D. 985. (Muk., 189.) 


Kinnasrln nnd Al 'Awasim . . ' . . ^. . 360,000 

Damascus Province . . . . . . 400,000 

Jordan Province . . ..... . . . 170,000 

Filastin Province . . . . . . 259,000 

This gives a total of 1,189,000 Dinars, or about ^600,000, equivalent to 
; i, 800,000 of the present currency. 

After Mukaddasi's days, apparently there is no known record of 
the revenues of Syria. A century later came the Crusaders ; and 
when, after another century, the country had reverted again to the 
Muslims, what Saladin and his successors in Egypt drew from the 
Syrian revenues is not recorded. 

The following table gives a summary of the total revenues of 
the Syrian Provinces at the various epochs indicated in the fore- 
going paragraphs : 


1. Revenues of about the year 780 A. D. 

2. Revenues of Haran ar Rashid's days (about 800) . 

3. Revenues in the year 820 .... 

4. Revenues about the year 864 

5. Revenues in the eai'ly part of the ninth century . 

6. Revenues in 891 

7. Revenues in 908 and 918, 39,000,000 Dirhams 

equal to . 

8. Revenues in 985 ..... 



'" * 


















The names of the Arab weights and measures are, many of 
them, taken from the Greek or Latin, being those that were in use 
in the Syrian provinces of the Byzantine Empire at the time of the 
Muslim invasion. Thus the Mudt is the Roman corn-measure, 
the Modius, generally rendered by bushel. The Ukiyyah is the 
Greek Ouyy/'a, or ounce ; and the Rail (pronounced also Ritl and 
Rutl) is, by inversion of the " 1 " and " r," the Greek Alrpa, or 
litre. The Arabic Kirdt, which we have borrowed, and spell 
" carat," was, in the first instance, an Arab corruption of the Greek 
word Ktpariov, the fruit of the keratea, carob or locust tree, better 
known as the St. John's bread. 

The names of the Kafiz, Waibah, Sa\ Kailajah, and Habb (or 
weight of a grain} are all of native Arab origin. The Kabb is 
etymologically identical with the Hebrew word "cab," a measure 
containing a quart and a third. In Greek, too, we find Kafe for 
the name of a corn-measure ; and the Greeks are said to have 
received the name from the East. 

The Makktik is said to have been adopted from the Persians, 
with whom it was the royal drinking-cup, in shape resembling a 
boat ; and " Makkuk " is even at the present day in Persia the 
name given to the weaver's shuttle, which has a boat-like form. 

The Danik, which was the sixth part of either Dirham or Dinar, 
is also a Persian word ; and Danak in that language signifies " a 

* Intrinsically ; to be multiplied by three to obtain the value in coin of the 
present day. 


The basis of the Arab measures of capacity is the a\ the corn- 
measure of the days of the Prophet, which was ruled to contain 
the equivalent of " four times the quantity of corn that fills the 
two hands, that are neither large nor small, of a man."* Roughly 
speaking, it may be taken as rather more than 5 pints ; and on 
this estimate the following equivalents, in English measures, are 
calculated. The Kist, which was half a Sd\ came from the 
Greek 3'sffTqg, which represents the Roman sextarius. 

As regards the system of weights, the unit is the silver Dirham 
weight, equivalent to about 47! English grains. It must, how- 
ever, be remembered that the Ratl (or pound-weight) is not only 
a standard of weight, but also a measure of capacity ; for the 
Arabs, like the Romans, calculated cubic measure by the weight 
of a specific quantity of oil or wine. In the same double capacity, 
the Kafiz is not only the corn-measure, but also the land-measure, 
being the land that may be sown with that quantity of corn, and, 
as such, counted as the tenth part of the Jarib, the normal square 
measure for cultivated lands. 

The unit of length was the Dhira\ or ell, which, however, 
varied at different epochs. The Royal Ell (Dhtra? Mdltki] of the 
tenth century measured about 18 inches in length ; while the 
Workman's Ell, in use at a later date (fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries), measured about 2\ feet. 

The Persian traveller Nasir-i-Khusrau, whose measurements are, 
archaeologically, of great importance, makes use of two Persian 
units of length namely, Gez and Ars/i. The latter is given as 
the equivalent of the Arabic Dhira', ell or cubit ; while the Gez 
is generally reckoned to be longer than the cubit, and is given in 
the dictionaries as roughly equivalent to the English yard. A 
careful comparison of the passages in which Nasir-i-Khusrau 
employs these measures leads, however, to the conclusion that he 
used the terms as synonymous,! and that both the Gez (ell) and 
the Arsh (cubit) may be taken as measuring somewhat under 
two English feet. 

The Arab Mil^ or mile, was directly borrowed from the 

* Vide Lane's Arabic Dictionary, s. v. SA\ 

f See Chapter III., description by Nasir-i-Khusrau of the Dome of the Rock. 



Byzantines ; it contained 4,000 DhinV, or ells, and may, therefore, 
be reckoned at somewhat over 2,000 yards. Roughly speaking, 
it is the geographical mile, or knot. Three Arab miles commonly 
went to the Farsakh, a word borrowed by the Arabs from the 
Persians, who wrote Farsang, from the Greek irapaadyyaz. 

Throughout Syria, as in all other parts of the Muslim Empire, 
there was a network of post-roads, with post-houses, where horses 
were kept at the Government expense. The post-stage was called 
by the Arabs Al Band. The institution is of very ancient date, 
and the word used by the Arabs is probably a corruption of the 
Latin Veredus "a post-horse." The length of the stage naturally 
varied with the nature of the country to be traversed. 

Mukaddasi writes as follows on the Measures and Weights of Syria 
during his days namely, at the close of the tenth century A.D. : 

" Measures of Capacity. The people of Ar Ramlah (the capital 
of Palestine) make use of the Kafiz, the Waibah, the Makkuk, 
and the Kailajah. 

" The Kailajah (or gallon) contains about i \ Sa's. 

" The Makkuk (3 gallons) equals 3 Kailajahs. 

" The Waibah (6 gallons) is 2 Makkuks. 

" The Kafiz (3 bushels) is 4 Waibahs. 

" The people of Jerusalem are wont to make use of the Mudi 
(2 bushels), w T hich contains two-thirds of a Kafiz; and of the 
Kabb, which equals a quarter of the Mudi ; and they do not use 
the Makkuk at all, except in the Government measurements. 

" In 'Amman, the Mudi equals 6 Kailajahs (three-quarters of a 
bushel) their Kafiz is the half of the Kailajah (or gallon) and 
by this measure they sell their olives and dried figs. 

" In Tyre, the Kafiz is the same as the Mudi of Jerusalem, 
and the Kailajah here equals the Sa'. 

" At Damascus, the Ghirarah contains i J Palestine Kafiz 
(equivalent, therefore, to 4! bushels). 

" Measures of Weight. In Syria, from Hims (Emessa) even to 
(the country lying between Palestine and Egypt known as) Al 
Jifar, the Ratls average 600 (Dirhams weight each) ; but some 
more, some less. Of these the heaviest is the Ratl of Acre, and 
the lightest that of Damascus. 


"The Ckiyyah (ounce) contains from 40 and odd up to 50 
(Dirhams of weight), and every Ratl contains 12 tkiyyah, or 
ounces (and is equivalent, therefore, to 6 Ibs.), except only at 
Kinnasrin, where the Ratl is two-thirds of this (and contains only 
4 Ibs.). 

" The standard weight of the coin in Syria is very nearly every- 
where the Dirham weight of 60 grains, and their grain (Habb) is 
the grain of barley-corn. 

" The Danik (which is the sixth of the Dirham) weighs 
10 grains. 

" The Dinar contains 24 Kirats ; and their Kirat is equivalent 
to 3! barley-corns (each barley-corn weighing about seven-tenths 
of a grain, English). 

" The distance between the post-stations (the Barid) in Syria is 
generally 6 miles." (Muk., 181, 182.) 

Nasir-i-Khusrau notes 1047 A.D. that in the bazaars of 
Aleppo the weight in use was the Dhahiri Ratl, which contains 
480 Dirhams weight. (N. Kh., 2.) This was named after the 
Egyptian Fatimite Khalif, Dhahir li Izazi Din Illah, and at this 
rate was equivalent to about 3^ Ibs. 



Rivers : The Jordan and its tributaries The rivers of the coast The rivers 
of Damascus The Orontes. Rivers of the northern provinces. 

Lakes : The Dead Sea The Lake of Tiberias The Hulah Damascus 
Lakes Lake of Hims and of Afamiyyah Lakes of Antioch. 

Mountains: Sinai Mount Hor The Mount of Olives Mountain- 
chains of Palestine : Ebal and Gerizim, Jabal 'Amilah The Jaulan hills 
Lebanon mountains Mountains round Damascus Hermon Jabal al 


Nahr al Urdunn. The Jordan, in the earlier Arab chronicles, 
is invariably given the name of Al Urdunn, a word corresponding 
with the Hebrew Ha-Yarden (almost always written with the 
article), meaning "the Descender." 

Al Urdunn further gave the name to the Military Province 
(Jund) of the Jordan. After the time of the Crusades the Jordan, 
in the Arab histories, begins to be called Ash Shari'ah, "the 
Watering-Place," the name by which it is known to the Bedawin 
of the present day. 

" Nahr al Urdunn," says Mukaddasi, " rises above Baniyas, and 
descending, forms a Lake over against Kadas (called the Hulah 
Lake) ; thence again descending to Tiberias, its waters spread 
out and form the Lake bearing that name ; and hence, further 
descending from the valley of the Ghaur, it falls into the Over- 
whelming Lake (which is the Dead Sea). The river Jordan is not 
navigable for boats." 

Mukaddasi also speaks of the bridge over the Jordan south of 
the lower end of the Lake of Tiberias, across which lies the road to 


I )amascus, known at the present day as the Jisr al Majami'ah. 
(Muk., 184, 161.) 

Yakut, quoting from Ahmed Ibn at Tib as Sarakhsi (died 
899 A.D.), says the Jordan is divided into the Greater (Urdunn al 
Kabir)> which is the Jordan above Tiberias ; and the Lesser 
( Urdunn as Saghir), which is the Jordan below the Sea of Galilee. 
"The Jordan waters all the country of the Ghaur where the 
sugar-canes are grown in the lands round Baisan, Karawa, Ariha 
(Jericho), and Al 'Auja." Yakut refers also to the bridge below 
the Lake of Tiberias, which he says " is finely built, and has more 
than twenty arches. The Nahr Yarmuk (Hieromax) joins the 
Jordan near here, coming down from the Bathaniyyah Province." 
(Yak., i. 200.) 

"Nahr al Urdunn (says Abu-1 Fida, writing in 1321) is the 
river of the Ghaur called also Ash Shari'ah (the Watering-place). 
Its source is in the streams that flow down from the Mount of 
Snow (Hermon) into the Lake of Baniyas (Hulah). From this 
lake the Shari'ah flows out, and passing, falls into the Lake of 
Tiberias. From the Lake of Tiberias it passes ' onward going 
south. The river Yarmuk joins the Shari'ah after it has left the 
I^ike of Tiberias, and at a point between that lake and Al 
Kusair. The Shari'ah, which is the Nahr Urdunn aforesaid, 
flows thence southward in the midst of the Ghaur, passing by 
Baisan, and on, south again, past Riha (Jericho) ; and again 
southward, till it falls into the Stinking Lake, which is the Lake of 
Zughar (or the Dead Sea)." (A. F., 48.) 

"Nahr al Urdunn, or the Shari'ah," writes Dimashki, "is a 
river with abundant water. It rises at Baniyas, and flows down 
to the Hulah district, and forms the Lake of Kadas so called 
after the Hebrew city (of Kadesh Naphthali), the remains of which 
are on the hill above and Kadas was the name of the Hebrew 
king of that country. Into this lake there fall many streams and 
waters. Passing out thence, the Jordan traverses the district of 
Al Khaitah, and comes to the Jisr Ya'kub, under the Kasj 
Ya'kub, and reaching the Sea of Tiberias, falls into it. Leaving 
this, it passes to the Ghaur. At the hot springs of Tabariyyah, 
there flows out, very marvellous to see, hot salt-water." 


" From the hot springs, too, that rise at a village called Jadar 
(Gadara (?), at present Umm Keis) and where there are waters 
for healing every sort of disease that men suffer from there comes 
down a great river (the Yarmuk) that joins the Jordan, after it has 
left the Lake of Tiberias, at a place called Al Majami' in the 
Ghaur. The two rivers then become one, and as they flow on, 
their waters become even more abundant, for near Baisan many 
springs join the Jordan ; and below this again other springs come 
in, till at last the Jordan flows into the Lake of Zughar, which is 
salt and stinking, and is called the Lake of Lot. The river flows 
into it but does not flow out. The lake does not increase in 
volume in winter for all the water that flows down to it ; neither 
does the quantity of its waters decrease in summer. But the 
Jordan flows into it night and day." (Dim., 107.) 

Nahr al Yarmiik (the ancient Hieromax). "The river 
Yarmuk," says Yakut, " is a Wadi in Syria, running into the 
Ghaur. The waters fall into the river Jordan, and thence flow 
down to the Stinking Lake (or Dead Sea). Here, on the Yarmuk, 
was fought the great battle between the Muslims and the Greeks, 
in the Khalif Abu Bakr's days. The field of battle was a Wadi 
called Al Wakusah (the Place of Breaking-up). It lies in the 
Hauran Province of Syria. The Muslims, in the days of Abu 
Bakr, lay encamped on the Yarmuk when they marched to make 
their raid against the Greeks. They fell on the idolaters, and 
Khalid hastened on the people to the slaughter. And certain of 
them pursued the enemy till they came to a high place that 
overhung a ravine ; down into this the enemy fell, for they did 
not see it, the day being misty, or, as some say, because it was 
night-time. Those of the Greeks who fled and came up later did 
not know what was happening to those in front ; and they fell 
into the ravine also. It was impossible to count those of the 
enemy who were slain, but by estimate 80,000 of the Greeks 
perished. This ravine has been called Al Wakusah from that day 
till now, because the Greek army was 'broken-up there.' When 
the morning dawned, and no infidels were to be seen, the Muslims 
imagined they had put themselves in ambush ; till at length they 
gained knowledge of their state. Such as were left fled, the 


Muslims following them and slaying them, until the Greek army 
was completely routed." (Yak., iv. 893, 1015 ; Mar., iii. 272, 339.) 

" Nahral Yarmuk (the river Hieromax)," says Dimashki, " flows 
down from the Jabal Ar Rayyan." (Dim., no.) 

Nahr az Zarka (the river Jabbok). " Nahr az Zarka (the Blue 
River) flows down from the country of Hisban (Heshbon), and 
joins the Jordan." (Dim., no.) 

" It is a large river," says Yakut, " and it falls into the Ghaur. 
It runs through green-clad places and many gorges, and it was the 
land of the ancient Himyarite Tubba kings. In this country are 
many wild animals and carnivorous beasts." (Yak., ii. 924.) 

Nahral Maujib (the river Arnon). " This," says Idrisi, " is the 
name of the great river, with a deep bed, shut in by two cliffs of 
the mountain sides, which you pass through going from the dis- 
trict of Ash Sharah to 'Amman. The road goes between these 
two cliffs, which are not far apart, being distant so little space that 
a man may talk to another across them. The cliffs overhang the 
banks of the river, and though, as just said, you may hear a man 
speak across from one to the other, you must descend six miles 
and ascend six if you would get from the one cliff to that opposite." 

(Id, 5.) 

" Al Mujib, or Al Maujib," says Yakut, " is a place in Syria, 
lying between Jerusalem and the Balka Province." (Yak., iv. 
678 ; Mar., iii. 171.) 

Nahr al 'Auja ("the Crooked River''), or Nahr Abi Fuirus 
("the River of Peter's Father"). "This is a river," writes Yakut, 
" running some twelve miles from Ar Ramlah towards the north. 
It rises from springs in the mountains in the neighbourhood of 
Nabulus, and falls into the sea between Arsuf and Yafa. Many 
great battles have been fought on its banks, and when two armies 
meet beside the Nahr Abi Futrus, it is always the army on the 
eastern bank that is routed. Thus it was at the battle between 
the Abbasides and Omayyads, in 132 (750), and at the battle 
between the Tulunids and the Khalif al Mu'tadid, at the place 
called At Tawahln (the Mills), on its banks." (Yak., iv. 131; 
Mar., iii. 243.) 

" Al 'Auja is the name of a river running between Arsuf and 


Ar Ramlah (and is the same as the Nahr Abi Futrus)." (Yak., 
iii. 744.) 

"The Nahr Abi Futrus," says Abu-1 Fida, "is the river that 
runs near Ar Ramlah in Filastin. In Muhallabi's work called 
the 'Azizl, it is said to be the same as the Nahr al 'Auja (the 
Crooked). It runs about twelve miles north of Ar Ramlah. They 
say that when two armies meet on its banks, it is always the 
western host that wins, while the eastern is put to the rout. Thus 
the Khalif al Mu'tadid fled (884 A.D.) from the Khumaruwaih ibn 
Ahmad ibn Tulun ; and the Fatimite Khalif of Egypt Al 'Aziz 
conquered and took prisoner Haftakin the Turk (975 A.D.), the 
latter being with his army on the eastern bank. The source of 
the river is under Jabal al Khalil, opposite the ruined castle of 
Majdaliyabah. Its course is from east to west, and it falls into 
the Greek Sea to the south of the lowlands of Arsuf. From 
its source to its mouth it is less than a day's journey in length." 
(A. F., 48.) 

Nahr Laitah (the Litany River), miscalled the Leontes, is 
at the present day known as Al Kasimiyyah. It is mentioned by 
Idrist in the twelfth century. 

" The Nahr Laitah falls into the sea between Sur (Tyre) and 
Sarafand. It rises in the mountains, and comes down here to the 
sea." (Id., 12.) 

" Nahr Laita," says Dimashki, " has its source in the lands of 
Karak Nun (Noah's Stronghold). There, many springs and 
streams come together, and the river flows along the base of the 
Jabal Lubnan (Lebanon), passing Jabal Mashghara, and into the 
same there flow many springs. Thence it passes Al Jarmak, and 
afterwards Ash Shakif, a great and strong castle. Below this it 
becomes a large river, and falls into the Mediterranean not far 
from Tyre." (Dim., 107.) 

Nahr al Kalb (the Dog River), the ancient Lycus, is men- 
tioned by Yakut, who states that " it flows between Bairut and 
Sidon, and is of the Frontier Strongholds, called Al 'Awasim." 
(Yak., iv. 298, 843 ; Mar., ii. 250, 508.) 

This is, however, a mistake, as the Dog River flows into the sea 
north of Bairut. 


Nahr Ibrahim. " A river of the Syrian coast, with but a short 
course. Its waters come down from the Lebanon mountains and 
Kasruwan, and running down to the coast, fall into the Mediter- 
ranean." (Dim., 107.) 

Nahr al Abtar (" the Curtailed "). " A river," writes Dimashki, 
" which flows into the sea between Bulunyas and Jabalah. It is so 
called on account of its short course, and because its waters are not 
used (for irrigation), and that, despite their abundance and rapidity, 
there are no canals taken from this river. On an island in it are 
the remains of a fortress called Buldah. It was one of the 
strongest of places, but was dismantled by its garrison, and this by 
reason of their quarrelling each with the other, which led to their 
dispersion. This island is one of the most beautiful places to be 
seen in this country ; one half of it is washed by the sea, and the 
part, that is toward the mainland is surrounded by the waters of 
the river. Thus half is on salt water, half on fresh, but to the 
sight they both appear but one water, which surrounds the island 
on all sides." (Dim., 209.) 

The Sabbatical River. The source of this stream was visited 
by Nasir-i-Khusrau in 1047. He writes : 

" We went by the coast road from Hama southwards, and in 
the mountains saw a spring which, they say, flows with water but 
once a year, when the middle-day of the (lunar) month of Sha'aban 
is past. It continues running for three days, after which it gives 
out not a single drop of water more, until the next year. A great 
many people visit this place in pilgrimage, seeking propitiation 
whereby to approach God may He be praised and glorified ! 
and they have constructed here a building and a water-tank." 
(N. Kh., 5.) 

This account doubtless refers to the source of the Sabbatical 
River of antiquity, visited by Titus (Josephus, Wars, vii., 5, i). 
It is at the present day called Fawwarah ad Dair, " The Foun- 
tain of the Convent," that is, of Mar Jirjis (St. George), the build- 
ing spoken of by Nasir. Josephus asserts that the spring ceases 
to flow on Saturdays. The Muslims of the present day say 

Nahr Bar add. Barada, the ancient Abana, is the chief river 


of Damascus. Some description of the network of streams 
which water the plain of Damascus will be given in Chapter VI. 

" Rivers occur in some numbers," writes Mukaddasi, " through- 
out the province of Syria, and they flow for the most part into the 
Mediterranean Sea all except the Barada, which, dividing below 
the city of Damascus, waters the district. In its upper course, an 
arm branching from the main stream encircles the northern part 
of the city, and divides below into two branches, one of which 
runs towards the desert and forms there a lake, while the other 
descends till it joins the Jordan." (Muk., 184.) 

"The Barada. also called Baradaya," according to Yakut, "is 
the chief river of Damascus. There is another river, also, called 
Banas, but the Barada is the main stream. It takes its rise in a 
valley near a village called Kanwa of the district of Az Zabadani, 
five leagues from Damascus and near Ba'albakk. From the springs 
there, it flows down to Fijah, which is a village two leagues from 
Damascus. Here another spring joins it, and their united waters 
flow on to a village called Jumraya. When the stream of the 
Barada approaches Damascus, many canals are led off it, for they 
have built weirs which turn the water aside ; to the north are two 
canals under Jabal Kasiyun, the upper called Nahr Yazid, and the 
lower Thaura. The former was dug by the Khalif Yazid ibn 
Mu'awiyah." (Yak., iv. 846; Mar., iii. 253.) 

"The latter name is often incorrectly spelt Thaurah." (Yak., 
i. 938; Mar., i. 131.) 

" The Nahr Yazid, going off at the village of Jumraya, takes a 
moiety of the waters and flows under the foot of Jabal Kasiyun. 
The Thaura bifurcates at the village of Dummar, and below this 
again, to the south, there are led away the waters of the Banas. 
After this the main stream of the Barada flows on towards the 
city, and there is taken from it the canal called Nahr al Kanawat, 
which is but a small stream. On reaching the city, the Nahr al 
Kanawat divides into numerous water-channels (Kanawat} towards 
the south, and flows through all the houses of the town. A great 
canal, that already mentioned, the Banas, flows through the Castle 
and the neighbouring houses in Damascus, and after dividing into 
various water-channels, proceeds through the Ghautah, irrigating all 


the fields beyond the gates called Bab as Saghir, and Bab ash 
Sharki. The main stream of the Barada, after passing through 
the city, flows also through the Ghautah, and loses itself in the 
lake to the east. Coming down from the north, the waters of the 
Thaura likewise fall into this lake, as also the Nahr al Yazid, which 
waters all the gardens on the north of Damascus." (Yak., i. 556 ; 
Mar., i. 141.) 

The Orontes. This river was called by the Greeks "A/OS 
Tora/xoc, from the old Syrian name of " Atzoio," meaning " The 
Rapid." The Arabs corrupted this name into A I 'A si, or "The 
Rebel River," calling it also Al Maklub, " The Overturned," be- 
cause it flowed in a contrary direction to most other rivers, that is, 
from the south to the north. The Crusaders, with their usual 
haphazard method of identification, considered the Orontes to 
represent the Biblical Pharphar, and refer to it in their Chronicles 
under that name. 

" Antakiyyah," says Idrisi, "lies on the river Al Maklub, 
which is called also Al Urunt (Orontes). This river rises in the 
territory of Damascus, at a place near where the desert road bifur- 
cates. From thence the stream flows down and passes Hims ; 
then traverses the two cities of Hainan and Shaizar and reaches 
Antioch, where it flows round the northern side of the city, and, 
turning south, falls into the sea to the south of As Suwaidiyyah." 

(id., 23.) 

According to Yakut, when the Orontes leaves the Lake of 
Kadas, it is known as Al Mimas, or Al Maimas ; at Hamah and 
Hims, it is called Al 'Asi, and near Antakiyyah it goes by the 
name of Al Urunt or Al Urund. (Yak., i. 233, iii. 588 ; Mar., i. 
51, ii. 226.) 

"The river of Hamah," says Abu-1 Fida, "is also called 
Al Urunt, or the Nahr al Maklub (The Overturned), on account 
of its course from south to north ; or, again, it is called Al 'Asi 
(The Rebel), for the reason that though most rivers water the 
lands on their borders without the aid of the water-wheels, called 
Duldb and Na'urah that is, merely by the flowing of the water 
the river of Hamah will not irrigate the lands except by the aid of 
these machines for raising its waters. The river runs in its entire 


length from south to north. At its origin it is a small stream, 
rising near a domain, about a day's journey to the north of Ba'al- 
bakk, at a place called Ar Ras. It runs north from Ar Ras till it 
reaches a place called Kami (Station of) al Hirmil, lying between 
Jusiyah and Ar Ras. Here, where it passes through a valley, is 
the main source of the river at a place called Magharat ar Rahib 
('The Monk's Cave'); thence flowing northwards and passing 
Jusiyah, it falls into the Lake of Kadas to the west of Hims. 
From this lake the river flows out, passing Hims and on by Ar 
Rastan to Hamah, thence by Shaizar to the Lake of Afamiyyah. 
From the Lake of Afamiyyah it goes by Darkush to the Iron Bridge 
(Aljisr al Hadid}. Bounding the river to the east hitherto, there 
has been the Jabal Lukkam, but when it reaches the Iron Bridge 
the mountains sink, and the river turns here and goes south and 
westward, passing by the walls of Antakiyyah, after which it falls 
into the Greek Sea at As Suwaidiyyah. 

"There flow into the Orontes a number of streams, ist. A 
river which rises under the city of Afamiyyah, and, flowing west- 
wards, falls into the Lake of Afamiyyah, where its waters join 
those of the Orontes. 

" 2nd. A river rising about two miles to the north of Afamiyyah, 
called An Nahr al Kabir ('The Great River'). It runs a short 
distance, and then falls likewise into the Lake of Afamiyyah ; the 
waters of these two leave the lake as the Orontes. 

"3rd. An Nahr al Aswad, or (in Turkish) Kara Sou ('The 
Black River '), which flows from the north, and passes under Dar- 

" 4th. Nahr Yaghra. This rises near the town of Yaghra, and, 
after passing the same, falls into the Black River mentioned above, 
and they together flow into the Lake of Antakiyyah. 

" 5th. Nahr Ifrin, which comes from the country of the Greeks, 
and flows by Ar Rawandan to the district of Al Jumah. After 
passing Al Jumah, it flows on to the district called Al 'Umk 
(' The Bottom '), and there joins the Black River ; these three, 
namely, the Black River, the Nahr Yaghra, and the Nahr Ifrin, 
become a single stream and fall into the Buhairah (or Lake of) 
Antakiyyah, flowing out from which their waters become the ' Asi (or 


Orontes) which comes down from Hamah above Antakiyyah and 
to the east* of the city." (A. F., 49.) 

"The Nahr 'Asi," says Dimashki, "which between Hamah and 
Ar Rastan is called the Nahr Urunt, has its source at the villages 
called Al Libwah and Ar Ras, near Ba'albakk, and thence flows 
down to Hims. A great spring of water cornes down and joins it, 
called 'Ain al Hirmil, above which is an Observatory of the ancient 
Sabseans, which resembles the two Observatories to be seen at 
Hims, called Al Maghzalani. The 'Asi flows on from here past 
the walls of Hisn al Akrad, and its waters are quite clear, even like 
tears, till they enter the Lake of Hims ; but on leaving this they 
are troubled, like the waters of the Nile, and do not become clear 
again till the river reaches the district called Ard ar Ruj. 
Ultimately the river flows down past As Suwaidiyyah and out into 
the sea." (Dim., 107, 207, 259.) 

Nahr Kuwaik. The ancient Chalus, and the river of Aleppo. 
"It rises," says Idrisi, "at a village called Sinab, sixteen miles 
from Dabik. Thence to Halab is eighteen miles, after which it 
passes to Kinnasrin in twenty miles, and on to Marj al Ahmar 
(' the Red Meadow '), and below this is swallowed up after a twelve 
miles' course in the marshes. From its source to its disappear- 
ance in the marshes it is 42 mrles in length." (Id. 25.) 

Yakut gives much the same information, only that he writes 
the name of the village, where the Kuwaik rises, Sabtat or Sabtar, 
adding that some place the source at Sabadir, six miles from 
Dabik. He states the total length of the Kuwaik to be 48 miles. 
" The waters are sweet, but in the summer-time it almost dries up. 
After the winter rains, however, it becomes a fine stream, and the 
poets of Aleppo compare it to Al Kauthar, the river of Paradise/ 
(Yak., iv. 206 ; Mar., ii. 462.) 

"The Kawaik River, opposite Jabal Jaushan, near Halab, is 
called Al 'Aujan." (Yak., iii. 744; Mar., ii. 288.) 

Dimashki describes the Kuwaik in much the same terms. He 
says : " The libertines of Halab surname the river Abu-1 Hasan, 
'Father of the Beautiful.' It ultimately flows through the Marj al 
Ahmar into the : wamp called Buhairah al Matkh (the Lake of 
Mud)." (Dim., 202 ) 

* The MSS. read " west," in error. 


Nahr al Azrak ("the Blue River")." This," says Yakut, " is 
a river of the Thughur (Frontier Fortresses) between Bahasna and 
Hisn Mansur, towards Halab." (Yak., iv. 834 ; Mar., iii. 243.) 

Nahr al Aswad(" the Black River "). " A river flowing near the 
Nahr al Azrak, and in the territories of Al Massissah and Tarsus." 
(Yak., iv. 834 ; Mar., iii. 243 ; see above, p. 60.) 

Nahr 'Ifrin. " The name of a river in the territories of Al 
Massissah, which runs in the Halab territory." (Yak., iii. 689 ; 
Mar., ii. 264 ; see above, p. 60.) 

Nahr adh Dhahab ("the River of Gold"). "The people of 
Aleppo call the Wadi Butnan, which passes Buza'ah, by this name. 
This valley is one of the wonders of the world for beauty. The 
river flows down into a large swamp some two leagues long and 
broad, where its waters dry up, and leave salt. This swamp 
they call Al Jabbul, and the salt gathered here is exported to 
all parts of Syria." (Yak., iv. 839 ; Mar., iii. 246.) 

Nahr Hurith. "A river flowing out from the lake called 
Buhairah al Hadath, near Mar'ash, and falling into the river 
Jaihan." (Yak., iv. 838; Mar., iii. 246.) 

Nahr Jaihan (the Pyramus). "The Jaihan is a river which 
rises in the country of the Greeks. After passing down through 
the city of Al Massissah, it runs by certain villages known by the 
name of Al Mallun,* and then falls into the sea. It has on its 
banks many hamlets with numerous water-courses." (Is., 63 ; 
I.H., 122.) 

"The Nahr Jaihan," says Abu-1 Fida, "is a river almost of 
the size of the Euphrates. It passes through the land of Sis 
(Cilicia, or Little Armenia), and the vulgar name it Jahan. It 
flows from north to south between mountains in the Greek terri- 
tories, till it passes to the north of Al Massissah, and then turning, 
goes from the east westward, and falls into the Greek Sea not far 
from the above-named city." (A.F., 50.) 

" The beginning of its course," says Dimashki, " is near 
Zabatrah. It runs under a huge rock. At its source is a church, 
like the church on the Saihan, and its length is nearly equal to 
that of the Saihan." (Dim., 107 ; also Yak., ii. 170, and 
Mar., i. 267, who add nothing to the above.) 

* The ancient Mallus, called in the Middle Ages Malo. 


Nahr Saihan (the Sarus). " The river Saihan is of less size than 
the Jaihan. There is across it a most wonderful stone bridge of 
extraordinary length. This river, too, rises in the land of the 
Greeks." (Is., 64 ; I.H., 122 ; copied by A.F., 249.) 

"The Saihan," writes Mas'udi, "according to tradition, is one 
of the rivers whose source is in Paradise. It is the river of 
Adanah, one of the Syrian Fortresses, and it flows into the Medi- 
terranean. It rises three days' journey beyond Malatyah, and 
Adanah is the only town on it belonging to the Muslims. It flows 
between Tarsus and Al Massissah. Its sister river, the Jaihan, 
has its sources at the 'Uyun Jaihan, three miles from the town of 
Mar'ash, and flows likewise into the Mediterranean. The only 
Muslim cities on its banks are Al Massissah and Kafarbayya." 
(Mas., ii. 359.) 

" The Nahr Saihan," says Dimashki, " has the commencement 
of its course in the country of Malatyah, at a place where there is 
a fortress. There is here a church in which is a picture of Paradise 
and its inhabitants. The river runs down from thence, and its 
course to where it flows into the Mediterranean is 730 (?) miles 
in length." (Dim., 107.) 

Abu-1 Fida describes the Saihan in much the same terms, and 
xidds : " It passes through the country of the Armenians called 
in our day Bilad Sis flowing beside the walls of Adanah, and to 
the west of the same After passing Adanah which lies less than 
SL day's march from Al Massissah the Saihan joins the Jaihan 
below Al Massissah, and the two become one stream, which 
debouches into the Greek Sea between Ayas and Tarsus." 
(A.F, 50.) 

The Saihan and Jaihan do not, at the present day, join their 
waters, but flow into the Mediterranean by separate mouths. The 
names of Jaihan and Saihan were given to these frontier rivers by 
the early Muslims, on the analogy of the Jaihan, and Sihun, the 
Oxus and Jaxartes, the frontier rivers of Central Asia. 

Nahr al Baradan (the Cydnus). " This," says Mas'udi "is 
-the river of Tarsus, which flows into the sea on the coasts of 
Tarsus." (Mas., i. 264.) Ibnal Fakih says this river is also called 
AlGhadban. (I.F., 116.) 


"Al Baradan," says Yakut, "is a river of the Thughur (or 
Frontier Fortresses). It rises in the Greek country, and flows into 
the sea six miles from Tarsus. It waters the gardens of Mar'ash, 
after rising at the foot of a mountain near there called Al 'Akra 7 
(the Bald)." (Yak., i. 553 ; Mar., i. 140.) 


The Dead Sea. The Dead Sea, at the present day, is generally 
known as the Bahr Lut, or " Lake of Lot." In earlier days it is 
spoken of as Al Bnhairah al Miyyatah, the " Dead Lake," Al 
Buhairah al Muntinah, the " Stinking Lake," or Al Makhlb, the 
" Overwhelmed," from the cities of Lot that were overwhelmed in 
its depths. It is also referred to under the name of the Sea of 
Zughar or Sughar, from the celebrated town of that name on 
its banks. It is to be noted that nowhere in the Bible is this 
lake called the Dead Sea, this denomination first occurring in 
Justin (xxxvi. 3, 6), who speaks of the " Mare mortuum ;" Pau- 
sanias also writes (v. 7, 4) of &aXaaaa y vt*.f<d. 

"The Dead Sea, Al Buhairah al Miyyatah," says Ya'kubi, "lies 
in the district of Bait Jibrin. It is from hence that the asphalt 
(Hiiwrah) comes, which is also called Mumiya." (Yb., 117.) 

"The Dead Sea," according to Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, "lies 
in the fore (or southern) part of Syria, near Zughar, and in the 
Ghaur. It is called the Dead Sea because there is in it no living 
creature nor fish. The waters throw up a substance called hummar 
(asphalt), which is used by the people of Zughar for the fertilization 
of their vines. The vines are so treated all over Palestine ; after 
the same manner the palm also is fertilized, by applying the 
male spathe ; and so, too, the people of Al Maghrib (the West) 
fertilize their fig-trees with the flower of the male plant. According 
to Istakhri, the Dead Sea is called Al Buhairah al Muntinah (the 
Stinking Lake)." (Is., 64 ; I. H., 123 ; copied by A. F., 228.) 

The account of the fertilization of the vines with the bitumen is, 
of course, a vulgar error. The natives anoint the vine plants with 
bitumen to keep off the worms and grubs, as is mentioned below 
in Nasir's account. The artificial fertilization of the palm and 
other fruit-bearing trees, is a subject very fully discussed by the 
Arab writers on horticulture. 


Mukaddasi writes : " The I^ike of Sughar (the Dead Sea) is a 
marvellous place, for the river Jordan and the river of the Sharah 
both pour into it, and yet they change the level not at all. It is 
said that a man does not sink easily in its waters, and that (during 
storms) waves do not rise on its surface. With its waters, if a 
clyster be administered, the same is a cure for many disorders. 
They have a feast-day for the purpose of thus taking the waters, 
and it occurs in the middle of the month of Ab (August), when 
the people with those who are afflicted with sickness assemble 
thereto." (Muk., 186.) 

" Now the river Jordan, descending through the valleys of the 
Ghaur, falls into the Overwhelming Lake (which is the Dead Sea). 
This lake is completely salt, wild, all-swallowing, and stinking. 
The mountains tower above it, but its waves never rise in the 
storm." (Muk., 184.) 

The Persian traveller, Nasir-i-Khusrau, writing in 1047, speaks 
in the following terms of the Dead Sea : 

" South of Tiberias lies the Buhairah Lut (the Lake of Lot). 
The waters of this lake are salt, although the (fresh) waters of the 
Lake of Tiberias flow down into it. The cities of Lot were along 
its borders, but no trace of them remains. A certain person 
related to me that in the salt waters of this lake there is a sub- 
stance which gathers itself together from the foam of the lake, and 
is black, with the likeness in form to a bull's (carcase floating). 
This stuff (which is asphalt) resembles stone, but is not so hard. 
The people of the country gather it and break it in pieces, sending 
it to all the cities and countries round. When the lower part of 
a tree is covered with some of this (asphalt), no worm will ever do 
the tree a harm. In all these parts they preserve the roots of the 
trees by this means, and thus guard against the damage to the 
gardens that would arise from worms and things that creep below 
the soil. The truth, however, of all this rests on the credibility of 
the word of him who related it to me, for I have not seen it. 
They say, too, that the druggists also will buy this substance, for 
they hold that a worm, which they call the Nuktah, attacks their 
drugs, and that this asphalt preserves therefrom." (N. Kh., 17, 18.) 

It is worthy of note that as regards the appearance of the asphalt 



floating on the waters of the Dead Sea, Josephus uses much the 
same expressions. He writes (B. J., iv. 8, 4) : 

" The lake also emits in various places black masses of bitumen, 
which float on the surface, somewhat resembling headless bulls in 
appearance and size." 

As regards the stinking properties of the waters, Lieut. Lynch, 
while encamped at Engedi, noticed " a strong smell of sulphuretted 
hydrogen," also " a fetid sulphureous odour in the night." He, 
however, adds elsewhere : " Although the water was greasy, acrid, 
and disagreeable, it was perfectly inodorous." The malodour 
doubtless arises from the gases given out at the springs which 
lie along the shore. 

" Buhairah Zughar," writes Idrisi, " is also called Buhairah 
Sadiim and Ghamur, and these last were two of the cities of Lut, 
which Allah overwhelmed, so that the place of them became the 
Stinking Lake. It is also known as the Dead Sea, because there 
is nothing in it that has the breath of life, neither fish nor beast, 
nor any other creature, of the kinds found in other stagnant and 
moving waters. The waters (of the Dead Sea) are warm, and of 
a disagreeable odour. There ply on the lake small ships which 
make the voyage of these parts, and carry over corn and various 
sorts of dates from Zughar and Ad Darah to Ariha (Jericho), and 
the other provinces of the Ghaur. The Dead Sea measures 60 
miles in length by 12 miles in the breadth." (Id., 3.) 

" The foul odour of the lake," says Yakut, " is extremely noxious, 
and in certain years the miasma is blown across the land, and 
causes destruction to all living creatures, human and others. By 
this all the neighbouring villages are depopulated for a time ; then 
other people come there who do not have a care for their lives, 
and these settle in the lands once more. It is an accursed lake, 
for nothing grows there. When anything falls into its waters it 
becomes useless. Thus fire-wood is spoilt, and such drift-wood 
as is thrown up on the shore will not kindle. Ibn al Fakih says 
that anyone who falls into its waters cannot sink, but remains 
floating about till he dies." (Yak., i. 516 ; iii. 822 ; Mar., i. 132.) 
Dimashki writes : " The people have many opinions concerning 
the disappearance of the waters (of the Dead Sea). Some say that 
its waters have an exit into a country afar off, whose lands they 


irrigate and fertilize, and here the waters may be drunk. This 
country, they report, lies at a distance of two months' journey. 
Others say that the soil all round the lake being extremely hot, 
and having beds of flaming sulphur beneath, there never cease to 
rise vapours, and these, causing the water to evaporate, keep it to a 
certain level. Others, again, say there is an exit through the earth 
whereby its waters join those of the Red Sea ; and others again 
affirm it has no bottom, but that there is a passage leading down 
to the Behemoth (who supports the earth). But Allah knows best 
the truth of all this ! It is from this lake that they get the asphalt. 
No living creature inhabits it, and no plant grows on its border." 
(Dim., 108.) 

Buhairah Tabariyyah (the Lake of Tiberias). In Mukaddasi's 
days, as will be mentioned below (Chapter VIII. , Tabariyyah\ 
the lake was covered with boats carrying the trade and products 
of the villages along its shores. 

"The Lake of Tabariyyah," writes Yakut, "is about 12 miles 
long by 6 broad. It is like an immense pool, surrounded by the 
mountains. Many streams pour into it, and the city of Tabariyyah 
stands on its (western) shore. It lies about 50 miles distant from 
Jerusalem. The Greater (or Upper) Jordan flows into it, as also 
the streams coming down from the Nabulus district. Out of the 
lake flows a great stream, called the Lesser (or Lower) Jordan, 
which, after watering the Ghaur, pours into the Stinking Sea by 
Jericho. In the middle of the Lake of Tiberias is a projecting 
rock, which they say is the tomb of Solomon, the son of David. 
Now, the sinking together of the waters of the Lake of Tiberias 
will be a sign of the coming of the Antichrist, called Ad Dajjal. 
It is related further that, when its waters have disappeared, one of 
the people of Yajuj and-Majuj (Gog and Magog) will say, 'Verily, 
there is water there beyond,' and then they will all march on 
towards Jerusalem. Afterwards Jesus will appear, standing on 
the Rock, called As Sakhrah, being surrounded by all true 
believers, and to them He will preach. Then a man of the 
Jurhum tribe or of Ghassan, as some say will go out against 
the people of Yajuj and Majuj, and they will be routed and 
utterly dispersed." (Yak., i. 515 ; Mar., i. 131.) 



"Buhairah Tabariyyah," says Abu-1 Fida in 1321, "lies at the 
upper end of the Ghaur. Into it flows the Jordan, called Nahr 
ash Shari'ah, coming down from the Buhairah Baniyas. The lake 
is called after Tabariyyah, which is a town now in ruins, on the 
south-western shore thereof. The circumference of the lake is 
two days' march, and its surface is quite bare of reeds." 
(A. F., 39.) 

Buhairah Kadas, or Buhairah Baniyas. The Hulab Lake, 
called in the Bible the Waters of Merom, is referred to in the 
early Arab geographers either as the Lake of Kadas, from Kadas 
(Kadesh Naphthali), on the height west of it ; or as the Lake of 
Baniyas (Paneas, Caesarea Philippi), the city lying some distance 
to the north. 

Mukaddasi, in 985, speaks of it as " a small lake, lying about 
an hour distant from Kadas, the waters of which flow into the 
Lake of Tiberias. In order to form the lake, they have built a 
wonderful embankment of masonry along the river, confining the 
water to its bed. Along the shore are thickets of the Haifa-reed, 
which gives the people their livelihood, for they weave mats and 
twist ropes therefrom. In this lake are numerous kinds of fish, 
especially that called the Bunni, which was brought here from 
Wasit (in Mesopotamia), that town of numerous clients." 
(Muk., 161.) 

It is to be noted that the Haifa-reed here mentioned is, with- 
out doubt, the Papyrus Antiquorum, called, by the Fallahin of 
the present day, Babur. (Cf. Canon Tristram Fauna and Flora 
of Palestine, P. E. F., p. 438.) Lane, however, in his Dictionary 
(s. v. Haifa], states that the botanical name of this reed is Poa 
Multiflora, or P. Cynosuroides. 

The " Bunni," according to Berggren (Guide Arabe Vulgaire], 
is at the present day the name for the carp, which fish, he says, 
abounds in the Sea of Galilee and in the Euphrates. Sir R. 
Burton, however, in a note to vol. viii., p. 187, of his translation 
of the Thousand and One Nights, says the " Bunni " is the 
Cyprinus Binni (Forsk), a fish somewhat larger than a barbel, 
with lustrous, silvery scales and delicate flesh. 

" Buhairah Baniyas," says Abu-1 Fida, " lies near the town of 


Baniyas, which is in the Damascus Province. It is a lake, sur- 
rounded by lowlands, and covered with reeds. Into it flow a 
number of streams from the mountains round. The river Jordan, 
called Ash Shari'ah, flows out of it, and falls into the I^ake of 
Tabariyyah." (A. F., 40.) 

Buhairah al Marj. The Damascus Lakes are called by Yakut 
Buhairah al Marj, " the Meadow Lakes." " They lie to the east of 
Damascus, and five leagues distant, across the Ghautah, near the 
plain called Marj Rahit. The overflow of the Damascus rivers (the 
Baradaand others) goes into them." (Yak., i. 516 ; Mar., i. 132.) 

Buhairah al BikCi. The lake in the plain of Ccelo Syria is 
called Buhairah al Bika by Abu-1 Fida. " It is a sheet of stagnant 
water, full of thickets and reeds, lying, at the distance of a day's 
journey, to the west of Ba'albakk." (A. F., 40.) 

It is to be noted that this lake does not now exist, its waters 
having been drained off. On the margin of the Paris MS. of 
Abu-1 Fida is the following curious note : 

" The Lake of the Bika was a lowland, covered with reeds and 
osiers, which they used for making mats. It lay in the middle of 
the Bika' Plain of Ba'albakk, between Karak Nuh and 'Ain al 
Jarr. The Amir Saif ad Din Dunkuz bought it for himself from 
the public treasury, and cleared the land of water by digging a 
number of channels, which drew off its waters into the Litany 
River. He then established here over twenty villages. Their 
crops were more rich than can be estimated or described, of such 
products as melons and cucumbers. The people gained great 
sums, and a rich livelihood. They planted here trees to produce 
timber, and built mills. The person who had urged Dunkuz to 
do all this was 'Ala ad - Din ibn Salj, a native of those parts. 
When Al Malik an Nasir (Sultan of Egypt) laid hands on Dunkuz, 
he took most of these villages from him, and gave them in fief to 
the Syrian Amirs, and but little remained to Dunkuz or his heirs." 

This Dunkuz was Governor of Syria from A.D. 1320 to 1339- 
(See Abu-1 Fida's Chronicle, under the year 740 A.H.) 

Buhairah Kadas, or Buhairah Hints. The Lake of Hims is 
also called Buhairah Kadas, after the Northern Kadesh. " It lies," 
says Yakut, " south-west of, but near, Hims, and towards the Jabal 


Lubnan (Lebanon mountains). It is 12 miles long and 4 miles 
broad. The streams of the surrounding hills pour down into it, 
and their waters go to swell the river } Asi (Orontes), which flows 
out of it. On this river lie Hamah and Shaizar." (Yak., i. 516 ; 
Mar., i. 132.) 

" Buhairah Kadas," says Abu-1 Fida, " is also called the Lake 
of Hims. Its length from north to south is about a third of a 
march, and its breadth is the length of the dyke, which we shall 
now describe. This dyke has been thrown across the river 
Orontes, and forms the northern border of the lake. It is built 
of stone, of the construction of ancient times, being attributed to 
Alexander the Great. In the middle of the dyke, and on it, are 
two towers of black stone. The length of the dyke, from east to 
west, is 1,287 ells, an d its breadth is i8| ells. The dyke hems in 
this great mass of water, and were it to go to ruin, the waters 
would rush out, and the lake would become a river, and no longer 
exist. This lake lies in a plain-country, about a day's journey to 
the west of Hims. They catch much fish there." (A. F., 40.) 

Buhairah al Afamiyyah (the lakes of Apamea). " These," 
writes Abu-1 Fida, 'in 1321, "consist of a number of lagoons 
(BatihaJi) divided one from another by beds of rushes, with low- 
lands covered by reeds. The largest of these lagoons forms two 
lakes one to the south, the other to the north. The waters 
thereof are derived from the river Orontes, which flows into 
the swamp on the south side, forming the lagoons. The river 
afterwards flows out again from the northern border of the swamps 
and lowlands. It is the southern of these two lakes which is 
more properly called the Lake of Afamiyyah. Its width is of 
about half a league, its depth is less than the height of a man, but 
its bottom is so miry that a man cannot stand up in it. On 
all sides and all over its surface are reeds and willows, and in the 
middle there is a thicket of reeds and papyrus (baradiy), which 
prevents the eye from seeing the whole of it at once, for a great 
part of it is masked thereby. On these lagoons there live all kinds 
of birds, such as swans ( TimmaJi ?) and the species called Al 
Ghurairah (?) and Sangh, and pelicans (Al BajcCah} and cranes 
(Al Iwazz\ Also birds that feed on fish, such as the species 


called Aljalth (?) and Al Abyaddniydt (or white-feathered fowls), 
and other such aquatic birds. In no other lagoons of which I 
have knowledge are there so many kinds of birds as here. In 
spring-time these lagoons are so crowded with yellow water-lilies 
(Nllufar) that the whole surface is hidden thereby, and the water 
is as though, covered by a veil from end to end, formed of their 
leaves and flowers. The boats thread their way through them. 

"The second great lagoon, which is to the north of the first, is 
separated from it by the marshy land covered with reeds, through 
which runs a waterway, whereby boats go from the southern to 
the northern lagoon. This northern lagoon forms part of the 
district of Hisn Barziyah. It is known as the Lake of the 
Christians (Buhairah anNasard) ; for there are Christian fishermen 
who live here in huts built on piles, in the northern part of the 
lagoon. This lake is four times larger than the Afamiyyah Lake. 
In the middle of the Lake of the Christians the dry land appears. 
Water-lilies grow all along its northern and southern banks ; and 
there are here also water-birds like what has been described above. 
There is here the eel called Al Ankalis. These lagoons lie to 
the west, bearing somewhat to the north of the town of Afamiyyah, 
and at no great distance therefrom." (A. F., 40.) 

Buhairah Antdkiyyah (the Lake of Antioch).* "This lake," 
says Yakut, "lies at a distance of three days' journey from 
Antioch. It is of sweet water, and in length about 20 miles, 
while its breadth is 7 miles. The lake lies in the territory known 
as Al 'Amk, 'the lowland.'" (Yak., i. 514; Mar., i. 131.) 

" Buhairah Antakiyyah," says Abu-1 Fida, "lies between 
Antakiyyah, Baghras and Harim, and occupies the plain country 
called Al 'Amk. It belongs to the district of Halab (Aleppo), 
and is situated about twelve days' journey to the west thereof. 
Into this lake flow three rivers coming from the north. The 
easternmost of these is called the Nahr 'Ifrin ; the westernmost, 
which runs under Darbassak, is called An Nahr al Aswad, 'the 
Black River ;' and the third, which flows between the first two, is 
called the Nahr Yaghra. Yaghra is the name of a village on its 
banks, the population of which is Christian. The circumference 
* Known at the present day as Ak Deniz. 


of the lake is about a day's journey. It is covered with reeds, and 
there are fish and birds here the like to which we have mentioned 
in describing the Lake of Afamiyyah. The three rivers aforesaid 
namely, the Nahr al Aswad, the Yaghra, and the 'Ifrin- come 
together * to form a single stream before they fall into the lake on 
its northern shore. And from the southern end a river flows out 
which joins the Orontes below the Jisr al Hadid (the Iron Bridge), 
which lies about a mile above Antakiyyah. The lake lies to the 
north of Antakiyyah." (A. F., 41.) 

Buhairah al Yaghra. A lake mentioned by Yakut, probably 
one of the small lakes found to the north-east of the Lake of 
Antioch.t "It lies," says Yakut, "between Antioch and the 
Thughur (or Frontier Fortresses), and collects into it the waters 
of the river 'Asi (the Orontes), of the Nahr 'Ifrin and the Nahr 
al Aswad. These two last come down from the neighbourhood 
of Mar'ash. It is called also Buhairah as Sallur which last 
is the Eel, called also Al Jirri by reason of the number of these 
fishes found in its water." (Yak., i. 516 ; Mar., i. 132.) 

Buhairah al Hadath. "This," says Yakut, "is a lake near 
Mar'ash, lying towards the Greek country. Its beginning is near 
the village of Ibn Ash Shi'i, 12 miles from Al Hadath in the 
direction of Malatyah. The lake extends thence to Al Hadath, 
which is a strongly fortified castle of those parts." (Yak., i. 514; 
Mar., i. 131.) 


At Tfir. "Tur," says Abu-1 Fida, "in the Hebrew language 
means ' mountain ' in general, but the name has passed to designate 
certain mountains in particular. Thus Tur Zaita (the Mount of 
Olives) is the hill near Jerusalem, where, according to tradition, 
70,000 prophets died of hunger. Tur is also the special name of 
the mountain above Tiberias (Mount Tabor). The position of 

* This is no longer the case, according to the present maps. The Nahr al 
Aswad, called at the present day in Turkish, Kara Sou, meaning likewise 
"Black River," flows into the Lake of Ak Deniz on the north, while the 
'Ifrin, or 'Afrin, flows in by a separate mouth from the east. See above, 
pp. 60 and 62. 

t Presumably not identical with the " Lake of Antioch," the description of 
which is given in the Arabic text two pages previously. 


Tur Sina (Mount Sinai) is the subject of discussion. Some say it 
is the mountain near Ailah, and others that it is a mountain in 
Syria ; and they say that it is called Sind on account of its stones, or 
else on account of the trees that grow there.* Tur Harun (Mount 
Hor) is the name of a high mountain which rises int he country 
south of Jerusalem. The tomb of Aaron is on its summit. " 
(A. F, 69.) 

Tur Sma (Mount Sinai). " Tur Sina," writes Mukaddasi, 
" lies not far from the Bahr al Kulzum (the Red Sea). One goes 
up to it from a certain village called Al Amn,f which same is the 
place where Moses and the children of Israel encamped. There 
are here twelve springs of fairly sweet water, and thence up to 
Sinai is two days' march. The Christians have a monastery 
(Dair) in Mount Sinai, and round it are some well cultivated 
fields, and there grow here olive-trees, said to be those mentioned 
by Allah in the Kuran (chap, xxiv., ver. 35), where it is written 
concerning that * blessed tree, an olive neither of the east nor of 
the west.' And the olives from these trees are sent as presents to 
kings." (Muk., 179.) 

" Jabal at Tur," says Idrisi, "is reached from Faran (Paran). 
It lies close to the (Red) Sea, and the mountain-chain stretches 
parallel thereto, and between it and the sea is a road that is much 
traversed. It is a high mountain into which you go up by steps, 
and at its summit is a mosque where there is a well of stagnant 
water, from which those who come and go may drink." (Id., 2.) 

" At Tur, or Tur Sina," says Yakut, " is a mountain near 
Madyan (Midian), where God spake with Moses the second time, 
after he had come out of Egypt with the Children of Israel. The 
name 'Tur Sina' is of the language of the Nabatheans. It is a 
mountain covered with plants and trees, and is an extension of 
the range above Ailah." (Yak., iii. 557 ; Mar., ii. 214.) 

TAr Harun (Mount Hor). "A high and sacred mountain," 

* Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. 17 (ed. of 1877), states that " the most 
probable origin even of the ancient ' Sinai ' is the Seneh or acacia, with 
which, as we know, it then abounded "that is, in Biblical times. 

f Possibly an Arab corruption of the name of Elim, where the Israelites 
encamped before coming " into the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim 
and Sinai," Exod. xv. 27. 


says Yakut, "lying to the south of Jerusalem. Harun (Aaron) 
went up into it with his brother Musa (Moses), but did not return. 
Then the children of Israel accused Moses of having slain him, 
but he showed them a bier on a plateau in the mountain-top, with 
the body of Harun upon it. The place was called after him."* 
(Yak., iii. 559; Mar., ii. 215.) 

The historian Mas'udi, as early as 943 A.D., writes: "Aaron 
died and was buried in Jabal Maab (Moab) among the mountains 
of the Sharah district, that lie in the direction of Sinai. His 
tomb is celebrated. It stands in an 'Adite (antique) cavern, in 
which on certain nights is heard a mighty sound, terrifying to all 
living creatures. Others say Aaron was not buried underground, 
but was merely laid in this cavern. There are many strange 
accounts given by those who have visited this place, and who 
describe it." (Mas., i. 94.) 

Tur Zaita, or Jabal Zaita (the Mount of Olives). " A holy 
mountain," says Yakut, " overhanging Jerusalem and to the east. 
The Wadi Jahannum divides it from the city. In this wadi is the 
'Ain Sulwan (Siloam), and across the wadi the Bridge as Sirat 
shall be stretched. On the mount Omar prayed. The tombs of 
70,000 prophets who died here are to be seen in this mount, and 
from it Jesus ascended into heaven." (Yak., iii. 558 ; Mar , ii. 215.) 

Jabal ash Sharah. " This district lies to the south of the Balka. 
Behind it is the desert, which is now inhabited by the settled 
Fellahin." (A. F., 228.) 

Jabal al Khamr. " These mountains," writes Yakut, "are men- 
tioned in the Traditions of the Prophet, and are said to be the 
mountains of Jerusalem, so-called from the quantity of wine 
(khamr) that is grown here." (Yak., ii. 21 ; Mar., i. 238.) 

At Tur (Ebal and Gerizint}. " This," says Yakut, "is the 
holy mountain above Nabulus, to which the Samaritans go in 
pilgrimage. The Jews hold it also in high respect, for they say 
Abraham was here commanded to sacrifice Isaac. The name is 
mentioned in the Pentateuch." (Yak., iii. 557 ; Mar., ii. 214.) 

Jabal at Tur (Tabor}. This name is mentioned incidentally 

* This legend is given in full in G. Weil's Biblischc Legenden der Musel- 
inanner, p. 185. It is derived from the Midrash. 


by Ibn Jubair in 1185 as that of the mount situated not far from 
Tiberias ; he, however, did not visit it. (I. J., 313 ) 

" At Tur Tabor," says Yakut, '* is a mountain above Tabariy- 
yah in the Jordan Province. It lies four leagues from Tabariyyah. 
On its summit is a spacious and strongly built church. A fair is 
held there every year. Al Malik al Mu'atham 'Isa, the son of 
(Saladin's brother) Al Malik al 'Adil Abu Bakr, built there a strong 
castle, and kept his treasures in this place. But when in 615 
(1218) the Franks came from beyond the sea to try and retake 
Jerusalem, he ordered this castle to be dismantled, and so it 
remains now." (Yak., iii. 557 ; Mar., ii. 215.) 

At Tur (Tabor) Ali of Herat confounds with Sinai, for he says 
Moses received the law in this mountain, " which is near Tiberias." 
(A. H., Oxf. MS., f. 31.) 

Jabal 'Amilah. The Jabal 'Amilah in Upper Galilee is the one 
referred to in the following notices. A second mountainous 
region, also called Jabal 'Amilah, but lying north of Damascus, is 
that of which Yakut (A.D. 1225) speaks under the heading of 
Kafar Latha (see below, Part II.). 

"Jabal 'Amilah," says Mukaddasi in 985, "is a mountainous 
district where are many fine villages, and here are grown grapes 
and other fruits, and olives. There are also many springs. The 
rain waters its fields. The district overhangs the sea, and adjoins 
the Lebanon mountains." (Muk., 162.) 

This district is called after the tribe of the Bani 'Amilah, who 
were settled here in the early days of the Muslim conquest. The 
district corresponds roughly with Upper Galilee. During the 
period of the Crusades the tribe migrated north, and the region 
between Damascus and Hims then took the name of Jabal 
'Amilah, as is mentioned by Yakut, and further described in the 
following account : 

" In the Safad Province," says Dimashki in 1 300, " is the 
district of the Jabal 'Amilah, full of vineyards, olives, carob, 
and terebinth trees. Its population are of the Rafidite and 
Imamite sects. Also in this province is Jabal Jaba'* with a 

* The name is identical with the Biblical Gibeah, meaning " humped," 
a common name for hills. See Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, Appendix, 25. 


like population. It is a high mountain tract full of springs, arid 
vineyards, and fruits. Near it is Jabal Jazin, with springs and 
fruit-lands in plenty; also Jabal Tibnin, which has a castle 
and districts, and lands round it. This district is also inhabited 
by Rafidites and Imamites. Jabal Baki'ah is named after the 
village called Al Baki'ah, where are running waters and excellent 
quinces. In this district are also many other villages with olive- 
grounds in plenty, and fruits and vineyards. Jabal az Zabud 
overhangs Safad. Az Zabud is a village, and there are many other 
villages in the country round. The people of these villages are of 
the Druze, Hakimite, and Amrite sects." (Dim., 211.) 

" The Jabal 'Amilah," writes Abu-1 Fida, " runs down east of 
the coast as far south as Tyre. The fortress of Ash Shakif 
(Arnon) is here, which Baibars took from the Franks, under whom 
its people formerly lived." (A.F., 228.) 

Jaba/'Auf. " This," says Abu-1 Fida in 1321, " is the district 
lying south-east of Jabal 'Amilah. The populations of both were 
rebellious until Usamah (one of Saladin's Amirs) built the fortress 
of 'Ajlun to curb and bring them into subjection. This last is a 
very strong fortress, dominating the Ghaur (of the Jordan). All 
its territory is very fertile, and it is covered with trees, and well- 
watered by streams." (A^F., 228. See also under 'Ajlun. ) 

Jabal SiddikCi. "These mountains," writes Mukaddasi in 985, 
"lie between Tyre, Kadas, and Sidon. Here may be seen the 
tomb of Siddika. On the middle day of the (lunar) month of 
Sha'ban, it is the custom for great numbers of the people of the 
towns round here to make a pilgrimage to this tomb, and the 
Lieutenant of the Sultan also is present. It so happened that once 
when I was sojourning in this part of the country, upon the Friday 
in the middle of Sha'ban, the Kadi Abu'l Kasim ibn Al 'Abbas 
called upon me to preach before the congregation. In my sermon 
I urged them to the restoration of this mosque, and with success, 
for afterwards this was accomplished, a pulpit being also erected 
therein. I have heard it related that when a dog in pursuit of 
any wild animal comes to the boundaries of this sanctuary, he 
there and then stops short ; and there are other stories told of a 
like kind." (Muk., 188.) 


Jabal al Jaulan (the Hills of the Jaulan). " These," says 
Mukaddasi, " lie on the opposite hand to the Lebanon mountains 
(across the Jordan), over towards Damascus. Here it was that I 
met Abu Ishak al Balluti (him of the oak-tree), who was accom- 
panied by forty men, his disciples, all of them dressed in woollen 
garments (after the manner of the ascetics). These people have a 
mosque, in which they assemble for prayer. I found Abu Ishak 
to be a very learned and pious jurisconsult of the sect of Sufyan 
ath ThCiri. These people feed themselves with acorns the fruit 
being of the size of the date, but bitter. They split it in half, and 
make it sweeter by allowing it to soak in water. It is then dried 
and ground in a mill. In this country (of Jaulan) also grows 
desert-barley, which the people mix with the acorn-meal, and 
therewith make their bread." (Muk., 188.) 

Jabal al Jaltl. "The inhabitants of these mountains," says 
Ya'kubi in 891, "are Arabs of the 'Amilah tribe." (Yb., 114.) 

" The Jabal al Jalil," says Yakut, " lie on the coast of Syria, ex- 
tending up towards Hims. The dwelling-place of Nuh (Noah) 
was in Jabal al Jalil, near Hims, at a village called Sahr, and it is 
said the Flood began to pour out here. The Jabal al Jalil extend 
to near Damascus also, and Tsa (Jesus) preached here, promising 
that this district should never suffer famine." (Yak., ii. no; 
Mar., i. 263.) 

Jabal Bani Hilal." These," writes Yakut, " are the mountains 
of the Hauran Province of Damascus. There are in this district 
many villages ; among them is the village of Al Malikiyyah, where 
is shown a wooden platter said to have belonged to the Prophet." 
(Yak., ii. 22 ; Mar., i. 239.) 

Jabal Lubnan (the Lebanon mountains). " These," says 
Mukaddasi, " lie contiguous to (and to the north of) the Jabal Sid- 
dika, running all along and parallel to the coast, from Sidon up to 
Tripolis. Their slopes are covered with trees, and fruits fit for 
eating abound. Everywhere among the Lebanon mountains occur 
little springs of water, where people who come here to pray have 
made for themselves houses of reeds or rushes. They live on the 
edible fruits, and also gain money by cutting what is known as the 
* Persian reeds,' and the myrtles, and other like shrubs, which they 


carry into the towns for sale. But they do not obtain much 
profit thereby." (Muk., 160, 188.) 

"The Lebanon mountains," says Ibn al Fakih, "belong to 
Damascus, and they are inhabited by hermits and anchorites. 
There grow here all kinds of fruits and vegetables, and every- 
where are springs of fresh water. These mountains extend as 
far as the Greek country. The apples of the Lebanon are very 
wonderful, in that when they first come from the Lebanon 
district they are sweet mountain apples without any flavour 
or savour, but after having been set in the water of the Nahr al 
Balikh, they immediately acquire a fine flavour." (I. K, 112, 

"The Lebanon mountains," writes Ibn Jubair in 1185, "are full 
of the castles of Ismailians (Assassins). This range is the bound- 
ary between the Muslims and the Franks, for beyond them to the 
north lie Antakiyyah and Al Ladhikiyyah, and other towns, which 
are in the hands of the Christians. May Allah return these into 
the hands of the Muslims !" (I. J., 257.) 

"The mountains of the Lebanon overhang Hims," says Yakut. 
"This range has its origin at Al 'Arj, between Makkah and Al 
Madinah, and extends thence till it reaches Syria. That part 
which is in Filastin is called Jabal al Hamal ; in the Jordan Pro- 
vince the range is called Jabal al Jalil ; at Damascus, the Sanir 
mountains ; near Halab, Hamah, and Hims, it is the Jabal Lubnan. 
This same range extends to Antakiyyah and Al Massissah, and 
there it is called Jabal al Lukkam. Further north again they go 
by Malatyah Sumaisat and Kalikala, even as far as the Bahr al 
Khazar (the Caspian), and there they are called Al Kaik. In the 
Jabal Lubnan is a most beautiful district belonging to Hims, and 
here are grown fruits in quantities, and arable fields are seen such 
as are found nowhere else. They say that in the Lebanon district 
there are spoken seventy dialects, and no one people understands 
the language of the other, except through an interpreter/' (Yak., 
ii. no, iv. 347 ; Mar., i. 263, iii. 5.) 

"On the slopes of the Lebanon mountains," according to 
Dimashki, " there grow more than ninety kinds of plants and herbs 
that spring up here naturally without cultivation, flowering all the 


year round, to the profit of those who gather them. Also many 
fruit and other trees." (Dim., 199.) 

"The Lebanon mountains," Ibn Batutah notes in his Diary, 
" are some of the greenest in the world. There are all sorts of fruits 
grown here, and springs of water occur frequently, and shade is 
found in summer. This region is celebrated for the anchorites 
and holy men who dwell here." (I. B., i. 184.) 

Jabal an Nusairiyyah, " These," writes Abu-1 Fida, " are cele- 
brated mountains lying near Halab. The Nusairiyyah are a sect 
called after Nusair, the freedman of 'Ali ibn Abu Talib.* They 
hold that 'AH stopped the sun on its course, as did Joshua, the 
son of Nun ; and that a crane spoke to him, as did one to Jesus. 
They most of them hold 'Ali for the divinity." (A. F., 232, from 
Ibn Sa'id.) 

Jabal Sanir. "This," says Yakut, "is the name for the mountains 
lying between Hims and Ba'albakk, along the high road. On their 
summit is the Castle of Kala'ah Sanir. The range extends west, 
and east to Al Kariyatain and Salamiyyah. It lies east of Hamah. 
Jabal al Jalil is opposite to it, lying along the coast. Between the 
two stretches the wide plain in which lie Hims and Hamah, and 
many other towns. This mountain tract of Sanir forms a Kurah 
(or district), and its capital is Huwwarin, which is Kariyatain. 
The range is co-terminous with the Lebanon on the right, and 
stretches thence northwards, even as far as the Bilad al Khazar 
(the region of the Caspian). On the left (southwards and to the 
east), the range travels on and extends even as far as Al Madinah. 
Jabal Sanir is only the name of this mountain tract between Hims 
and Ba'albakk, and is thus but a small portion of this long range 
of mountains." (Yak., iii. 170; Mar., ii. 61.) 

"Jabal ath Thalj ('the Mountain of Snow,' Hermon), Jabal 
Lubnan, and Jabal Lukkam, all these mountains," says Abu-1 Fida, 
" are continuous, and run one into the other, forming but a single 
range going from south to north. The southern point of the chain 
is near Safid. Jabal ath Thalj (Hermon) runs up north and passes 

* This is a mistake. They take their name from Muhammad ibn Nusair, who 
flourished at the end of the ninth century A.D. See Haarbrucker's translation 
of Shahrastani, i. 216. 


Damascus. To the north of this the mountain takes the name of 
Jabal Sanir. The spur of the chain which overhangs Damascus 
is called Jabal Kasiyun. After passing Damascus the chain goes 
west of Ba'albakk, and the range over against Ba'albakk is called 
the Lebanon. After passing Ba'albakk it has to the east of it 
Tarabulus of Syria, and goes now by the name of Jabal 'Akkar, 
'Akkar being the name of a fortress in the above-mentioned moun- 
tains. The chain then passes on north, and after Tarabulus 
reaches Hisn al Akrad (the Kurd's Castle). Here, in the same 
parallel, lies Hims, at a distance of a day's journey to the west. 
Hence the range continues on northward, and passes the line of 
Hamah, then Shaizar, then Afamiyyah ; and the range, when it 
comes to be opposite these cities, goes by the name of Jabal al 
Lukkam. When the parallel of Afamiyyah is reached the Jabal 
al Lukkam lying to the west of that city there begins another 
chain opposite the Jabal al Lukkam, and running parallel with it 
northwards, Near Afamiyyah this second range goes by the 
name of Jabal Shahshabu, being called after a village of the name 
of Shahshabu, lying on the southern flank of the mountains. Jabal 
Shahshabu runs from south to north, passing to the west of Al 
Ma'arrah, Sarmin, and Halab ; after this it bears to the west, and 
joins the mountains of the country of the Greeks. 

"As to the Jabal al Lukkam, however, this continues north- 
wards, and there is between it and the Jabal Shahshabu a broad 
valley about half a day's march across, in which lie the lakes of 
Afamiyyah. The Jabal al Lukkam extends on northwards, passing 
by Sihyun, Ash Shughr and Bikas, and Al Kusair, till it reaches 
Antakiyyah. Here the mountain chain is cut through, and 
opposite, beyond the valley, rise the mountains of Armenia. In 
(the valley) cutting across the chain runs the river 'Asi (Orontes), 
which falls into the sea at As Suwaidiyyah." (A. F., 68.) 

Jabal ad Darziyyah (the Druze Mountain). " A continuation 
of the Lebanon chain," says Abu-1 Fida, "in the direction of the 
valley, called Wadi at Tairn. The chain goes also by the name of 
the Jabal Kasruwan. The people are of the Ibahite sect, as are 
also the people of the Lebanon." (A. F., 229, quoting Ibn Sa'id.) 

Jabal Sikkin. "This," says Abu-1 Fida, in 1321, "isthemoun- 


tain chain where the Ismailians have their chief quarters and their 
fortresses, such as Masjaf, Al Kahf, and Al Khawabi. These 
fortresses lie in the mountains that run down along the coast over 
against the country between Hims and Hamah. Masyaf makes a 
triangle with Hims and Hamah ; the east point is Hamah, the 
north-west is Masyaf, and the south-west is Hims, they being each 
about a day's journey the one from the other." (A. F., 229 ; 
from Ibn Sa'id.) 

Jabal al Khalt." A district," says Abu-1 Fida, " lying between 
Hims and the sea. There are here a great number of the Ibahite 
sect (who believe everything to be licit). When they can they sell 
the Muslims as slaves to the Franks." (A. F., 229.) 

Jabal as Summak. "This," says Yakut, "is a great mountain 
region in the district of Western Halab. It is covered with towns, 
villages, and castles, all inhabited by people of the Ismailian sect. 
The district lies for the most part in the government of Halab. 
Jabal as Summak is so called from the Summak (Sumac) tree, 
which abounds here. Sesame, cotton, and apricots are grown 
here, and there is running water ; also gardens in plenty and all 
kinds of trees and fruits." (Yak., ii. 21 ; Mar., i. 238.) 

Jabal al Akrd ("the Bald Mountain"). "The name of the 
mountains," says Yakut, " in Syria that are seen from the sea, 
overhanging the districts round Antakiyyah, Al Ladhikiyyah, and 
Tarabulus. The range is of unknown height." (Yak., i. 336 ; 
Mar., i. 195.) 

Jabal Akra' is the Mons Casius of the Romans, south of 
Antioch. Ibn Batutah writes that it is "one of the highest moun- 
tains of Syria. You see it first of all others coming from the sea. 
The Turkomans dwell on its slopes (A.D. 1355), and there are 
many streams and springs that flow down from it." (I. B., i. 183.) 

Jabal Lukkam. These are more particularly the eastern and 
northern parts of what was anciently known as Mount Amanus. 
All the Syrian mountains north of the Lebanon, however, are 
apparently included under this general name. (See the preceding 
page.) The Jabal Lukkam are often identical with the Jabal 
Sikkin of the later Arab geographers. 

" Jabal al Lukkam," says Mukaddasi, " is the most populous 



mountain region of Syria, also the largest in area and the most 
rich in fruit-trees. At the present day, however (A.D. 985), all this 
country is in the hands of the Armenians. Tarsus lies beyond 
these mountains, and Antioch is on our side of them." (Muk., 

Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, writing in the earlier part of the tenth 
century, give the following account of this range : " The Jabal al 
Lukkam divide the Syrian from the Mesopotamian Frontier For- 
tresses, and the range extends north, far into the country of the 
Greeks for 200 leagues even, as it is said. The range first 
appears in the lands of Islam, running down between Mar'ash, Al 
Haruniyyah, and 'Ain Zarbah. The chain goes by the name of 
Jabal al Lukkam as far south as Al Ladhikiyyah. Below this the 
mountains have, as far as Hims, the name of Jabal (the mountain 
of the tribes of) Bahra and Tanukh. South of Hims the range is 
called the Lebanon (Jabal Lubnan), and to the south again they 
spread out all over Syria, until on the one hand they end on the 
shore of the Bahr Kulzum (the Red Sea), and on the other reach 
the Cairo hills called Al Mukattam." (Is., 56 ; I. H., 108.) 

" The Jabal al Lukkam," says Yakut, " are the mountains over- 
hanging Antakiyyah, Al Massissah, Tarsus, and the other cities of 
the Thughur (or Frontier Fortresses). The range extends north 
into the country to the Leo kings of Armenia." (Yak., iv. 364; 
Mar., iii. 17.) 


AD. 985-1052, 

According tx> tte 
Arab Geograpliers 

5 100 

A S vS AH I ~ R A 

1 The Plain ) 

200 300 400 440 Yards 





Names of the Holy City Advantages of Jerusalem Fertility Position- 
Territory of the Holy City. 

The Mosque al AksA : The Prophet's Night Journey The origin of the 
Mosque al Aksa 'Omar's early building and that of 'Abd al Malik 
Earthquake of the year 130 (746), and restoration of the mosque by Al 
Mansur and Al Mahdi The technical meaning of the term Afasjiaf, or 
Mosque Mukaddasi's description of the Aksa in 985 The Talisman a-d 
the Maksiirahs Earthquakes of 1016 and 1034 Inscriptions relating to 
repairs Description of the Aksa by Nasir i-Khusrau in 1047 Dimensions 
of the mosque The Crusades The mosque given over to the Templars 
Description by Idrisi and Ali of Herat Saladin's reconquest of 
Jerusalem and restoration of the Aksa in 1187 Description by Mujir ad 
Din in 1496 Modern mosque. 

The Dome of the Rock : The Rock The dome built over it by 'Abd a) 
Malik in 691 Mr. Fergusson's theory disproved 'Abd al Malik's great 
inscription Al Mamun's inscription on the doors Description o? the 
Dome by Ibn al Fakfh in 903 Arrangement of the piers and pillars 
Istakhri and Ibn Haukal's description That of Mukaddasi, 985 The 
earthquake of 1016 and the inscriptions recording repairs Nasir-i-Khus- 
rau's visit in 1047 The fall of the great lantern in 1060 The Crusaders 
and the Templum Domini Temple-churches and Rafael's picture of the 
Sposalizio Idrisi's account in 1154 'Ali of Herat's in 1173 The iron 
railing round the Rock, and other details Pieces of the Rock taken by 
the Crusaders as relics Saladin's restoration His great inscription in the 
Dome Ibn liatiitah's visit in 1355 Destruction of the Cupola by fire in 
1448 Suyuti's description of the Footprint of the Prophet, the Cave, ami 
other maive!s--Mujlr ad Din's measurements. 

JERUSALEM is known to the Muslims by the names of Bait fit 
Mukaddas or Bait al Makdis, signifying " The Holy House " ; or 
else simply as Al Kuds, " The Holy " ; the latter being the more 
common name at the present day. The ancient Hebrew name, 
" Yerushalaim," was, however, well known to the Arabs, though not 
used, and YakQt mentions the forms Urtshallum, Urishalum^ 
also Shallow^ as the various names of the Holy City in the days 
cf the Jews. (Yak., i. 402 ; Hi. 315 ; iv. 590.) 



The Emperor Hadrian, after removing all the Jews from 
Jerusalem (A.D. 130), gave the town the name of .^Elia Capitolina 
the first part of this name was preserved in the Arabic as Iliya, 
a name which, having no signification for the Arabs, gave rise to 
numerous legends. Yakut writes : 

" It is reported on the authority of Ka'ab that the Holy City 
was called Iliya because Iliya was the name of a woman who built 
the city." (Yak., iv. 592.) Further, Iliya is said to mean Bait 
Allah (the House of God). And, again, Iliya is said to have been 
so called " after the name of its builder, who was Iliya, son of 
Aram, son of Sam (Shem), son of Nun (Noah), and he was the 
brother of Dimishk (Damascus), Hims (Emessa), Urdunn (Jordan), 
and Filastin (Palestine)." (Yak., i. 423, 424.) 

Jerusalem also was occasionally referred to in poetry as Al 
Balat, meaning "the court," or u royal residence," a word the 
Arabs had borrowed from the Latin palatium. 

Politically, Jerusalem was never the Muslim capital of the pro- 
vince (Jund) of Palestine, this being at Ar Ramlah. But the 
Holy City, containing within its precincts The Further Mosque, 
The Rock, and other Holy Places, was only held second in point 
of sanctity to the twin Holy Cities of the Hijjaz, Makkah, and Al 
Madinah, in the eyes of all true believers ; and Jerusalem, further, 
was to be the scene of the great gathering on the Last Judgment 
Day. Even in the days of its splendour, when Ar Ramlah was 
the capital of the south province, as Damascus was of the north, 
Istakhri and Ibn Haukal (tenth century) write : " The Holy City 
is nearly as large as Ar Ramlah. It is a city perched high on the 
hills : and you have to go up to it from all sides. In all Jerusalem 
there is no running water, excepting what comes from springs, that 
can be used to irrigate the fields, and yet it is the most fertile 
portion of Filastin." (Is., 56; I.H., in.) 

Mukaddasi (A.D. 985), as his name implies, himself a native of 
the Holy City, is loud in praises of the manifold advantages of 
Jerusalem. He writes : 

" The Holy City, Bait-al-Makdis, is also known as Iliya and 
Al Balat. Among provincial towns none is larger than Jerusalem, 
and many capitals are, in fact, smaller. Neither the cold nor the 
heat is excessive here, and snow falls but rarely. The Kadi Abu-] 


Kasim, son of the Kadi of the two Holy Cities of Makkah and Al 
Madinah, inquired of me once concerning the climate of Jerusalem. 
I answered : * It is betwixt and between neither very hot nor 
very cold.' Said he in reply : * Just as is that of Paradise.' The 
buildings of the Holy City are of stone, and you will find nowhere 
finer or more solid construction. In no place will you meet with 
people more chaste. Provisions are most excellent here ; the 
markets are clean, the Mosque is of the largest, and nowhere are 
Holy Places more numerous. The grapes are enormous, and 
there are no quinces to equal those of the Holy City. In Jerusalem 
are all manner of learned men and doctors, and for this reason the 
heart of every man of intelligence yearns towards her. All the year 
round, never are her streets empty of strangers. As to the saying 
that Jerusalem is the most illustrious of cities is she not the one 
that unites the advantages of This World and those of the Next? 
He who is of the sons of This World, and yet is ardent in the 
matters of the Next, may find there a market for his wares ; while 
he who would be of the men of the Next World, though his soul 
clings to the good things of This, he, too, may find them here ! 
Further, Jerusalem is the pleasantest of places in the matter of 
climate, for the cold there does not injure, and the heat is not 
noxious. And as to her being the finest city, why, has any seen 
elsewhere buildings finer or cleaner, or a Mosque that is more 
beautiful ? And as for the Holy City being the most productive 
of all places in good things, why, Allah may He be exalted ! 
has gathered together here all the fruits of the lowlands, and of 
the plains, and of the hill country, even all those of the most 
opposite kinds : such as the orange and the almond, the date and 
the nut, the fig and the banana, besides milk in plenty, and honey 
and sugar. And as to the excellence of the City ! why, is not 
this to be the place of marshalling on the Day of Judgment ; 
where the gathering together and the appointment will take place ? 
Verily Makkah and Al Madinah have their superiority by reason 
of the Ka'abah and the Prophet the blessing of Allah be upon 
him and his family ! but, in truth, on the Day of Judgment both 
cities will come to Jerusalem, and the excellencies of them all will 
then be united. And as to Jerusalem being the most spacious 


of cities ; why, since all created things- are to assemble there, what 
place on the earth can be more extensive than this ? 

" Still, Jerusalem has some disadvantages. Thus it is reported, 
as found written in the Torah (or Books) of Moses, that ' Jerusalem 
is as a golden basin filled with scorpions.' Then you will not find 
anywhere baths more filthy than those of the Holy City ; nor any- 
where the fees for the same heavier. Learned men are few, and 
the Christians numerous, and the same are unmannerly in the 
public places. In the hostelries the taxes are heavy on all that is 
sold ; there are guards at every gate, and no one is allowed to sell 
of the necessities of life except in the appointed places. In this 
city the oppressed have no succour ; the meek are molested, and 
the rich envied. Jurisconsults remain unvisited, and erudite men 
have no renown ; also the schools are unattended, for there are no 
lectures. Everywhere the Christians and the Jews have the upper 
hand : and the mosque is void of either congregation or assembly 
of learned men." (Muk., 166, 167. The translation is somewhat 

That the Christians and Jews had the upper hand in Jerusalem 
in the century preceding the first Crusade is certainly a curious and 
noteworthy fact. In his introductory chapter Mukaddasi states that 
" in Jerusalem no one can find either defect or deficiency. Wine 
is not publicly consumed, and there is no drunkenness. The city 
is devoid of houses of ill-fame, whether public or private. The 
people, too, are noted for piety and sincerity. At one time, when 
it became known that the Governor drank wine, they built up 
round his house a wall, and thus prevented from getting to him 
those who were invited to his banquets." (Muk., 7.) 

Mukaddasi further continues : 

" The territory of the Holy City is counted as all the country 
that lies within a radius of forty miles from Jerusalem, and 
includes many villages. For twelve miles the frontier follows the 
shore (of the Dead Sea) over against Sughar and Maab ; then for 
five miles it lies through the desert, and is in the district towards 
the south, even unto the country that lies beyond Al Kusaifah and 
the land that is over against it. And on the north the frontier 
reaches to the limits of Nabulus. This, then, is the land which 


Allah may He be exalted ! has called blessed (Kuran, xxi. 71) ; 
it is a country where, on the hills are trees, and in the plains fields 
that need neither irrigation nor the watering of rivers, even as the 
two men (Caleb and Joshua) reported to Moses, the son of 'Amran, 
saying : ' We came on a land flowing with milk and honey.' I 
myself at times in Jerusalem have seen cheese selling at a sixth 
of a Dirham for the Ratl, and sugar at a Dirham the Ratl ; and 
for that same sum you could obtain either a Ratl and a half of 
olive-oil, or four Ratls of raisins." (Muk., 173.) 

Taking the Dirham at tenpence, and the Syrian Ratl at 6 Ibs., 
we have cheese at about a farthing a pound, sugar at a penny 
three farthings a pound, olive-oil at about a shilling the gallon, 
and raisins at the rate of 2\ Ib. for a penny. The great natural 
fertility of all the country round Jerusalem is constantly referred 
to by the Arab writers. Mukaddasi notes that " in Palestine, 
during the summer-time, every night, when the south wind is 
blowing, dew falls, and in such quantities that the gutters of the 
Aksa Mosque are set to run." (Muk., 186.)* 

The position of Jerusalem crowning a hill-spur, and surrounded 
on three sides by deep gorges, seems to have struck alike both 
Eastern and Western pilgrims. The Arabs were accustomed to 
build their great cities in the valleys, or else in the plain-country, 
for the sake of the streams. The Persian traveller Nasir-i-Khusrau, 
who reached Jerusalem on March 5, 1047, approached the Holy 
City by the northern road. He writes : 

" After we had continued our upward road some way from 
Kariyat-al-'Anab, a great plain opened out in front of us, part of 
which was stony, and part of it good soil ; and here, as it were, 
on the summit of the mountain, lay before our view Bait-al- 
Mukaddas (the Holy City). Now, the men of Syria, and of the 

* The following passage from The Holy Land and the Bible, by Cunningham 
Geikie, D.D., may illustrate the exactness of Muknddasi's observations : " In 
Palestine," Dr. Geikie writes, " the bright skies cause the heat of the day to 
radiate very quickly into space, so that the nights are as cold as the day is the 
reverse. To this coldness of the night-air, the indispensable watering of all 
plant-life is due. The winds, loaded with moisture, are robbed of it as they 
pass over the land, the cold air condensing it into drops of water, which fall in 
a gracious rain of mist on every thirsty blade." 


neighbouring parts, call the Holy City by the name of Kuds (the 
Holy) ; and the people of these provinces, if they are unable to 
make the pilgrimage (to Makkah), will go up at the appointed 
season to Jerusalem, and there perform their rites, and upon the 
feast-day slay the sacrifice, as is customary to do (at Makkah) on 
the same day. There are years when as many as twenty thousand 
people will be present at Jerusalem during the first days of the 
(pilgrimage) month of Dhu-1 Hijjah ; for they bring their children 
also with them, in order to celebrate their circumcision. From 
all the countries of the Greeks, too, and from other lands, the 
Christians and the Jews come up to Jerusalem in great numbers, 
in order to make their visitation of the Church (of the Resurrec- 
tion) and the synagogue that is there ; and this great Church (of 
the Resurrection) at Jerusalem we shall describe further on in its 
proper place. (See Chapter V.) 

" The lands and villages round the Holy City are situate upon 
the hillsides ; the land is well cultivated, and they grow corn, 
olives, and figs ; there are also many kinds of trees here. In all the 
country round there is no (spring) water for irrigation, and yet the 
produce is very abundant, and the prices are moderate. Many of 
the chief men harvest as much as 50,000 Manns weight (or about 
16,800 gallons) of olive-oil. This is kept in tanks and cisterns, 
and they export thereof to other countries. It is said that drought 
never visits the soil of Syria. Jerusalem is a city set on a hill, 
and there is no water therein, except what falls in rain. The 
villages round have springs of water, but the Holy City has no 
springs. The city is enclosed by strong walls of stone, mortared, 
and there are iron gates. Round about the city there are no 
trees, for it is all built on the rock. Jerusalem is a very great 
city, and at the time of my visit it contained a population of 
some twenty thousand men. It has high, well built, and clean 
bazaars. All the streets are paved with slabs of stone ; and 
wheresoever there was a hill or a height, they have cut it down 
and made it level, so that as soon as the rain falls (the water runs 
off), and the whole place is washed clean. There are in the 
city numerous artificers, and each craft has a separate bazaar." 
(N. Kh., 23, 24.) , 



The great mosque of Jerusalem, Al Masjid al Aksa, the 
" Further Mosque," derives its name from the traditional Night 
Journey of Muhammad, to which allusion is made in the words of 
the Kuran (xvii. i) : "I declare the glory of Him who transported 
His servant by night from the Masjid al Haram (the Mosque 
at Makkah) to the Masjid al Aksa (the Further Mosque) at 
Jerusalem " the term " Mosque " being here taken to denote the 
whole area of the 'Noble Sanctuary, and not the Main-building of 
the Aksa only, which, in the Prophet's days, did not exist. 

According to the received account, Muhammad was on this 
occasion mounted on the winged steed called Al Burak " the 
Lightning " and, with the angel Gabriel for escort, was carried 
from Makkah, first to Sinai, and then to Bethlehem, after which 
they came to Jerusalem. " And when we reached Bait al Makdis, 
the Holy City," so runs the tradition, "we came to the gate of 
the mosque (which is the Haram Area), and here Jibrail caused 
me to dismount. And he tied up Al Burak to a ring, to which 
the prophets of old had also tied their steeds." (Ibn al Athir's 
Chronicle, ii. 37.) Entering the Haram Area by the gateway, 
afterwards known as the Gate of the Prophet, Muhammad and 
Gabriel went up to the Sacred Rock, which of old times had 
stood in the centre of Solomon's Temple ; and in its neighbour- 
hood meeting the company of the prophets, Muhammad pro- 
ceeded to perform his prayer-prostrations in the assembly of his 
predecessors in the prophetic office Abraham, Moses, Jesus, 
and ethers of God's ancient apostles. From the Sacred Rock 
Muhammad, accompanied by Gabriel, next ascended, by a ladder 
of light, up into heaven ; and, in anticipation, was vouchsafed the 
sight of the delights of Paradise. Passing through the seven 
heavens, Muhammad ultimately stood in the presence of Allah, 
from whom he received injunctions as to the prayers his followers 
were to perform. Thence, after a while, he descended again to 
earth ; and, alighting at the foot of the ladder of light, stood 
again on the Sacred Rock at Jerusalem. The return journey 
homeward was made after the same fashion on the back of the 


steed Al Burak and the Prophet reached Makkah again before 
the night had waned.* Such, in outline, is the tradition of the 
Prophet's Night Journey, which especially sanctifies the Rock and 
the Haram Area in the sight of all true believers. 

After the capitulation of Jerusalem to 'Omar in 635 (A.H 14), 
that Khalif caused a mosque to be built on what was considered 
to be the ancient site of the Temple (or Masjid) of David. 
The traditional position of this site, 'Omar (as it is stated) 
verified, by the re-discovery of the Rock concealed under a dung- 
hill from the description that had been given to him, 'Omar, 
by the Prophet, of the place where he had made his prayer- 
prostrations in Jerusalem on the occasion of his Night-Journey. 

The traditional accounts of 'Omar's discovery of the Rock will 
be given later on. It should, however, be here noted that none 
of the earlier Arab annalists (such as Biladhuri, or Tabari) record 
any details of the building, by 'Omar, of the Aksa Mosque. In 
the early days of Islam namely, under 'Omar and his successors, 
down to the settlement of the Khalifate, in the family of the 
Omayyads, at Damascus mosques were, without doubt, con- 
structed of wood and sun-dried bricks, and other such perishable 
materials. Hence, of the buildings erected in 'Omar's days, pro- 
bably but little remained, half a century later, to be incorporated 
in the magnificent stone mosque erected by the orders of the 
Omayyad Khalif, 'Abd al Malik, about the year 690 (A.H. 72). 
It seems probable, also, that this latter Khalif, when he began to 
rebuild the Aksa, made use of the materials which lay to hand in 
the ruins of the great St. Mary Church of Justinian, which must 
originally have stood on the site, approximately, on which the Aksa 
Mosque was afterwards raised. Possibly, in the substructures still 
to be seen at the south-east corner of the Aksa, we have the 
remains of Justinian's church, described by Procopiusf as erected 

* Further details of the traditional account of this celebrated Night Journey 
may be read in chapter xii. of Washington Irving's Life of Mahomet. In the 
commentaries on the Kuran, the account found in the Ibn al Athir and the 
other chroniclers is considerably amplified. 

f See Palestine Pilgrim's Text Society, Procopins, p. 138. The subject is 
ably discussed in Professor Hayter-Lewis' recent work, The Holy Places of 
Jerusalem, chapter iv., where all the authorities are cited. 


in 560 A.D., and burnt down in 614 by Chosroes II. during the 
-reat Persian raid through Syria, which laid most of the Christian 
buildings of the Holy Land in ruins. Perhaps also the remarkable 
silence of all the Arab writers in regard to the date of 'Abd al 
Malik's rebuilding of the Aksa may be taken as an indirect proof 
that that Khalif did not erect the edifice from its foundations, 
but that he made use of the remains of the St. Mary Church 
(where 'Omar had raised his primitive mosque), incorporating 
these into the new Aksa, which thus rose on the ruins of the 
Christian edifice. 

However this may be, the Chronicles make no mention of the 
date or fact of 'Abd al Malik's rebuilding of the Aksa Mosque, 
and the earliest detailed description of the same is that given 
by Mukaddasi in 985, some three centuries after 'Abd al Malik's 
days. Of the Dome of the Rock, on the other hand, we possess 
detailed accounts in the older authorities, describing both the 
foundation in A.H. 72 (691), and the general appearance the Dome 
presented as early as the third century of the Hijrah. It would 
appear as though the Arab chroniclers and the travellers who 
visited the Haram Area at this period were more impressed by 
the magnificence of the Dome of the Rock than by the Main- 
building of the Aksa Mosque, of which the Dome of the Rock, 
in fact, was but an adjunct. Previous to Mukaddasi's account, 
what we know of the history of the Aksa Mosque may be sum 
marized as follows : According to tradition, in or about the year 
635 (A.H. 14), 'Omar erected a mosque (probably of wood) 
at Jerusalem.* Presumably about the year 691 (A.H. 72), the 

* In so far as I have been able to discover, the earliest mention of 'Omar's 
building a mosque in Jerusalem is the account found in the Chronicle of the 
Byzantine historian Theophanes. The following is a translation from the 
Greek which will be found on p. 524, vol. i., of the Chronographia (Bonn, 
!839) = " Anno Mundi 6135, Anno Domini 635. In this year Omar began to 
restore the Temple at Jerusalem, for the building, in truth, no longer then stood 
firmly founded, but had fallen to ruin. Now when Omar inquired the cause, 
the Jews answered saying: ' Unless thou throw down the Cross, which stands 
on the Mount of Olives, the building of the Temple will never be firmly 
founded.' Thereupon Omar threw clown the Cross at that place, in order that 
the building (of the Temple) might be made firm ; and for the sa ne cause 
innumerable crosses in other quarters these enemies of Christ did likewise 


Omayyad Khalif 'Abd al Malik rebuilt the Aksa Mosque (vide 
Mukaddasi and Suyuti). In 746 (A.H. 130), an earthquake is 
said to have thrown down the greater part of the Aksa. Of 
this earthquake, and the damage caused by it, the earliest 
detailed account I have been able to find is that (see below) 
given by the author of the Muthir, who is, however, a late 
authority, namely, A.D. 1351. The early Chronicles of Tabari 
and of Ibn al Athir make no mention of this earthquake of 
A.D. 746, though Mukaddasi (985) alludes in general terms to the 
earthquake which had thrown down the Aksa in the days of the 
Abbasides. If the date of the earthquake, AH. 130 (746), be 
correct, it should be noted in passing that this was two years 
before the overthrow of the Damascus Khalifate ; since it w r as only 
in A.H. 132 that As Saffah conquered his Omayyad rival, and 
founded the dynasty of the Abbasides, who shortly after this 
transferred their seat of government from Damascus in Syria to 
Baghdad on the Tigris. 

The account referred to above, as given by the author of the 
Muthir, of the earthquakes is as follows :* 

"On the authority of 'Abd ar Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn 
Mansur ibn Thabit, from his father, who had it from his father 
and grandfather. In the days of 'Abd al Malik, all the gates of the 
mosque were covered with plates of gold and of silver. But in the 
reign of the Khalif Al Mansur, both the eastern and the western 
portions of the mosque had fallen down. Then it was reported to 
the Khalif, saying, ' O commander of the faithful, verily the earth- 
quake in the year 130 (A.D. 746) did throw down the eastern part 
of the mosque and the western part also ; now, therefore, do thou 
give orders to rebuild the same and raise it again.' And the 

overthrow." Theophanes was born in 751, and wrote his Chronicle towards 
the close of the eighth century A.D. (he died in 818 A.D., 203 A.H.), and he is 
therefore prior by more than half a century to the earliest Arab authorities. 
His youth is separated by considerably under a century and a half from the 
date of Omar's conquest of Jerusalem. 

* The Arabic text of this passage, collated from several MSS. in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale, is printed in my paper in the J. R. A. S., new series, 
xix., p. 304. The passage is copied verbatim by Suyuti (in 1470), and again 
by Mujir ad Din (in 1496) ; see p. 250 of the Cairo text of the latter author. 


Khalif replied that as there were no moneys in his treasury, (to 
supply the lack of coin) they should strip off the plates of gold 
and of silver that overlaid the gates. So they stripped these off 
and coined therefrom Dinars and Dirhams, which moneys were 
expended on the rebuilding of the mosque until it was completed. 
Then occurred a second earthquake, and the building that Al 
Mansur had commanded to be built fell to the ground. In the 
days of the Khalif Al Mahdi, who succeeded him, the mosque 
was still lying in ruins, which, being reported to him, he com- 
manded them to rebuild the same. And the Khalif said that the 
mosque had been (of old) too narrow, and of too great length 
and (for this reason) it had not been much used by the people 
so now (in rebuilding it) they should curtail the length and in- 
crease the breadth. Now the restoration of the mosque was 
completed on the new plan during the days of his Khalifate." 

From this account we learn that in A.H. 130 the Aksa was thrown 
down by earthquake and rebuilt by the Khalif Al Mansur. This 
restoration by Al Mansur probably took place about the year A.H. 154 
(771), for in that year the Chronicles of Tabari and of Ibn al Athir 
inform us that Al Mansur visited Jerusalem, and prayed in the 
mosque.* The Chronicles, however, be it noted, make no mention 
of Al Mansur's restoration of the building : this we only read in 
the account given by the author of the Muthir. According to this 
latter author a second earthquake (of which, however, apparently no 
mention is made in any of the Chronicles) laid Al Mansur's build- 
ing in ruins ; and afterwards the Khalif Al Mahdi, his successor, 
rebuilt the Aksa a second time, making it on this occasion broader 
and shorter. Of Al Mahdi's restoration, as in the former case, 
no mention is found in the Chronicles. If, however, the authority 
of the Muthir is to be accepted for the fact, we should place this 
second restoration in or about the year 780 (A.H. 163), for in that 
year, according to Tabari, f the Khalif Al Mahdi went to Jerusalem 
and made his prayers in the Aksa Mosque, and he would then 
doubtless have had the ruined condition of the building brought 
under his notice. 

* Tabari, Series III., p. 372 ; Ibn al Athir, vol. v., p. 467. 
f Tabari, Series III., p. 500. 


From about the year A.D. 780, when the Aksa was restored in 
Al Mahdi's reign, down to 985 when Mukaddasi describes it, as 
far as is known from the historians, no accident befell the mosque. 
Shortly before this, however, " a colonnade supported on marble 
pillars," as we learn from Mukaddasi, had been erected by the 
celebrated 'Abd Allah ibn Tahir, for many years independent 
Governor of Khurasan and the East. Of the appearance of the 
Aksi previous to Mukaddasi's date, the early geographers tell us 
next to nothing. What little is noted by them will be given on a 
subsequent page, where the accounts are translated in extenso. 

Before, however, these passages are laid before the reader, and 
in order that he may rightly understand the descriptions which the 
early Muslim writers have left of the Noble Sanctuary, with the 
buildings of the Aksa and the Dome of the Rock, it will be 
necessary to enter into rome explanations of the Arab and technical 
usage of the word " mosque." The main characteristics of the 
primitive Arab mosque are well exemplified in the accompanying 
plan representing the Jami' of Ibn Tulun. This is the oldest 
mosque in Cairo, having been erected by Ahmad ibn Tulun about 
the year 879 (265 A.H.) 

As here seen in its simplest form, the mosque primarily consisted 
of an open courtyard, within which, and round its four walls, ran 
colonnades or cloisters, to give shelter to the worshippers. On the 
side of the court towards the Kiblah (in the direction of Makkah), 
and facing which the worshipper must stand and kneel during 
prayers, the colonnade, instead of being single, is, for the con- 
venience of the increased numbers of the congregation, widened 
out to form the Jami', or " place of assembly." In the case of Ibn 
Tulun's Mosque, five rows of columns, with the boundary-wall, 
form the five transverse aisles (A to a). In the centre of the 
boundary- wall on the Makkah side is set the great Mihrab of the 
mosque (a), indicating the direction of the Kiblah. Now in all 
descriptions of a mosque it is taken for granted that the visitor is 
standing in the Court (as Satin} of the mosque, and facing the 
Kiblah. Fronting him therefore is the Main-building, called the 
"covered-part" (al Mughatta), or the " fore-part " (at Mukaddamah} 
of the mosque (A to a) ; while in his rear is the colonnade (B), 



single or double, against the wall of the courtyard, furthest from 
the Makkah-side, and this is called the " back " of the mosque 
(al Mitakhkharali). The " right-hand side " of the mosque is in 
the neighbourhood of the colonnades (C), along the wall on the 
right of the Court when you face the Mihrab, and the " left-hand 
side " is on the opposite side (D). In the Court (as Sahn) thus 














_. I 


' * 




. . . 




enclosed, are often other buildings, such as tombs or minor 
chapels. In the Mosque of Ibn Tulun there is a domed building 
(E), originally intended to serve as the mausoleum of the founder, 
but which, as he died far away in Syria, was subsequently fitted 
up with a water-tank to serve as a place for the ablution before 


Turning now to the Arab descriptions of the Haram Area at 
Jerusalem, the point it is of importance to remember is that the 
term Masjid (whence through the Egyptian pronunciation of 
Masgid, and the Spanish Mezquita, our word " mosque v ) applies 
to the whole of the Haram Area, not to the Aksa alone. Masjid 
in Arabic means " a place of prostration (in prayer) ;" and therefore 
to revert once again to Ibn Tulun's Mosque, (i) the Main- 
building, A ; (2) the Court, and (3) the Colonnades at the back, 
B ; with those (4) to the right, C ; to the left, D ; as also (5) the 
Dome E in the Court one and all form essential parts of the 
mosque, and are all comprehended by the term " Al Masjid. ' 

Bearing these points in mind, and coming to the Noble 
Sanctuary at Jerusalem, we find that the term "Masjid," as 
already stated, is commonly applied not only to the Aksa Mosque 
(more properly they*?////', or "place of assembly," for prayer), but 
to the w r hole enclosure of the great Court, with the Dome of the 
Rock in the middle, and all the other minor domes, and chapels, 
and colonnades. The Dome of the Rock (misnamed by the 
Franks " the Mosque of 'Omar "), is not itself a mosque or place 
for public prayer, but merely the largest of the many cupolas in 
the Court of the Mosque, and in this instance was built to cover 
and do honour to the Holy Rock which lies beneath it. 

Great confusion is introduced into the Arab descriptions of the 
Noble Sanctuary by the indiscriminate use of the terms Al Masjid 
or Al Masjid al Aksd,Jami' or Jami al Aksa ; and nothing but an 
intimate acquaintance with the locality described will prevent a 
translator, ever and again, misunderstanding the text he has 
before him since the native authorities use the technical terms in 
an extraordinarily inexact manner, often confounding the whole, 
and its part, under the single denomination of " Masjid." Further, 
the usage of various writers differs considerably on these points : 
Mukaddasi invariably speaks of the whole Haram Area as Al 
Masjid, or as Al Masjid al Aksa, "the Aksa Mosque," or "the 
mosque," while the Main-building of the mosque, at the south 
end of the Haram Area, which we generally term the Aksa, he 
refers to as Al Mnghatta, " the Covered-part." Thus he writes 
" the mosque is entered by thirteen gates," meaning the gates of 


the Haram Area. So also "on the right of the court," means 
along the west wall of the Haram Area ; " on the left side " means 
the east wall ; and " at the back " denotes the northern boundary 
wall of the Haram Area. 

Nasir-i-Khusrau, who wrote in Persian, uses for the Main-building 
of the Aksa. Mosque the Persian word Pushish, that is, " Covered- 
part," which exactly translates the Arabic Al Mughatta. On some 
occasions, however, the Aksa Mosque (as we call it) is spoken of 
by Nasir as the Maksurah, a term used especially to denote the 
railed-off oratory of the Sultan, facing the Mihrab, and hence in 
an extended sense applied to the building which includes the 
same. The great Court of the Haram Area, Nasir always speaks 
of as the Masjid^ or the Mas/id al Aksa, or again as the Friday 
Mosque (Masjid-i-Jum'ati). 

In the presence of this ambiguity of terms, I have thought it 
better to translate Al Masjid and the various other phrases by 
" the Haram Area," or " the Noble Sanctuary," in the one case, and 
by " the Aksa Mosque " in the other, as circumstances demanded, 
and in accordance with the context ; in order thus to render the 
translation perfectly clear to European readers. It may be added 
that Muslim authorities speak in the same loose way of "the 
Rock," when they really mean " the Dome of the Rock " (Kubbat 
as Sakhrah] which covers the same ; but this, after all, is only as we 
speak of the " Holy Sepulchre," meaning " the Church," which is 
built over it. In concluding these preliminary remarks, attention 
is directed to the fact that the Kiblah, denoting the point of the 
compass towards Makkah, is in Syria used approximately as 
synonymous with "south." In Egypt, as will be seen in the plan 
of Ibn Tulun's Mosque, the Kiblah points east. The Kiblah point 
in a mosque is indicated by a niche in the (Jami') wall, generally 
finely ornamented, called the Mihrab. Besides the great Mihrab 
of the mosque, there are often numerous other and minor Mihrabs 
(prayer niches or oratories), just as in a Catholic church there are 
many minor altars and chapels in addition to the high altar of the 

Descriptions of the Aksa Mosque. During the hundred years 
that preceded Mukaddasi's date, Syria and Palestine had become 



lost to the Baghdad Khalifs. In 878 (264) Ahmad ibn Tulun, 
their viceroy at Cairo, had asserted his independence, seized on 
Egypt and conquered the whole of Syria. The rule of the 
Tulunides lasted in Southern Syria and Palestine till 934, when their 
power was transferred to the Ikhshidis, who, in turn, were driven 
out of Egypt and Syria by the Fatimite Khalif Al Mu'izz in 969 ; 
and it was under the rule of his successor, Al 'Aziz, that Mukad- 
dasi wrote his description of Jerusalem in 985. 

Mukaddasi's account of the Aksa Mosque at this date is as 
follows : 

"The Masjid al Aksa (the Further Mosque with the Haram 
Area) lies at the south-eastern corner of the Holy City. The 
stones of the foundations of the Haram Area wall, which were 
laid by David, are ten ells, or a little less, in length. They are 
chiselled (or drafted}, finely faced, and jointed, and of hardest 
material. On these the Khalif 'Abd al Malik subsequently built, 
using smaller but well-shaped stones, and battlements are added 
above. This mosque is even more beautiful than that of 
Damascus, for during the building of it they had for a rival and 
as a comparison the great Church (of the Holy Sepulchre) be- 
longing to the Christians at Jerusalem, and they built this to be 
even more magnificent than that other. But in the days of the 
Abbasides occurred the earthquakes,* which threw down most of 
the Main-building (al Mughatta, which is the Aksa Mosque) ; all, 
in fact, except that portion which is round the Mihrab. Now 
when the Khalif of that day (who was Al Mahdi) obtained news 
of this, he inquired and learned that the sum at that time in the 
treasury would in no wise suffice to restore the mosque. So he 
wrote to the governors of the provinces, and to all the commanders, 
that each should undertake the building of a colonnade. The 
order was carried out, and the edifice rose firmer and more sub- 
stantial than ever it had been in former times. The more ancient 
portion remained, even like a beauty spot, in the midst of the 
new, and it extends as far as the limit of the marble columns ; for 
beyond, where the columns are of concrete, the later building 
commences. The Main-building of the Aksa Mosque has twenty- 

* See p. 92. 

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X x O O O ,,'' 

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six doors. The door (D) opposite to the Mihrab is called the 
Great Brazen Gate ; it is plated with brass gilt, and is so heavy that 
only, a man strong of shoulder and of arm can turn it on its hinges. 
To the right hand of this (Great Gate) are seven large doors, the 
midmost covered with gilt plates ; and after the same manner there 
are seven doors to the left. And further, on the eastern side (of 
the Aksa), are eleven doors unornamented. Over the first- 
mentioned doors, fifteen in number, is a colonnade (C, C) sup- 
ported on marble pillars, lately erected by 'Abd Allah ibn Tahir.* 

" On the right-hand side of the Court (that is along the West . 
Wall of the Haram Area) are colonnades supported by marble 
pillars and pilasters ' and on the back (or North Wall of the 
Haram Area) are colonnades vaulted in stone. The centre part of 
the Main-building (of the Aksa) is covered by a mighty roof, high- 
pitched and gable-wise, over which rises a magnificent dome. 
The ceilings everywhere except those of the colonnades at the 
back (along the North Wall of the Haram Area) are covered 
with lead in sheets ; but in these (northern) colonnades the ceilings 
are made of mosaics studded-in. 

" On the left (or east side of the Haram Area) there are no 
colonnades. The Main-building of the (Aksa) Mosque does not 
come up to the Eastern Wall of the Haram Area, the building here, 
as it is said, never having been completed. Of the reason for this 
they give two accounts. The one is, that the Khalif 'Omar com- 
manded the people to erect a building * in the western part of the 
Area, as a place of prayer for Muslims ;' and so they left this space 
(which is towards the south-eastern angle) unoccupied, in order not 
to go counter to his injunction. The other reason given is, that itfl/ 
was not found possible to extend the Main-building of the (Aksa) 
Mosque as far as the south-east angle of the Area Wall, lest the 
(great) Mihrab, in the centre-place at the end of the Mosque, 
should not then have stood opposite the Rock under the Dome ; 
and such a case was repugnant to them. But Allah alone knows 
the truth." (Muk., 168-171.) 

On a subsequent page Mukaddasi gives an account of the Talis- 

* Independent Governor of Khurasan and the East from 828 to 844. He 
was third in succession of the Tahiride Dynasty. 



man in the Aksa ; and Al Biruni,* writing in 1000 (A.M. 390), a 
few years later than Mukaddasi, also mentions having seen these 
curious writings ; Mukaddasi's notice is as follows : 

" In the Holy City there is a Talisman against the bite of 
serpents, the same being the inscription on the marble slab behind 
the Pulpit of the Great Mosque, where is cut in the surface 
the words : Mohammad is Allah's Apostle and, again, In the 
name of Allah the Merciful, the Compassionate" (Muk., 186.) 

Ibn al Fakih, who wrote (903) about eighty years before 
Mukaddasi, has the following note on this Talisman. He also, 
as will be noted, speaks of the Maksurahs, or spaces in the 
Mosque railed-off for the accommodation of the women ; the 
dimensions, however, that are recorded (70 or 80 ells by 50, 
equivalent to 120 feet by 75) make it difficult to understand 
how these could have been inside the Aksa. Perhaps, therefore, 
the Aksa must here again be taken to mean the whole Haram 
Area, and then the Maksurahs may have stood in the outer court. 
The account of Ibn 'Abd Rabbin, a contemporary (913), confirms 
this. Ibn al Fakih writes : 

" To the right of the Mihrab (of the Aksa) is a slab on which, in a 
circle, is written the name of Muhammad the blessing of Allah 
be upon him ! and on a white stone behind the Kiblah (wall, to 
the south) is an inscription in the following words : In the name of 
Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate, Muhammad is Allah's 
Apostle, and Hamzah was his helper. Now, within the (Aksa) 
Mosque are three Maksurahs for the women, each Maksurah being 
70 ells in length." (I. F., ioo.) 

On the subject of the Maksurahs Ibn 'Abd Rabbih's statement 
is that : 

" In the Mosque (Al Aksa) are three Maksurahs for the women, 
the length of each Maksurah being 80 ells, and its breadth 50." 
(I. R., iii. 367.) 

It will be seen that Mukaddasi, writing in 985 A.D., describes the 

Aksa Mosque of his day as having fifteen doorways opening to the 

north, and eleven opening to the east. The plan of the Aksa 

must then have been very different from that of the present build- 

* Ath&r al Bdkiyah. Sachau's translation, p. 294. 


ing, as may be seen by a reference to the illustrations facing pp. 99 
and no.* In 1016 (A.H. 407) and 1034 (A.H. 425), as we learn 
from the Chronicles of Ibn al Athir, Syria was visited by 
destructive earthquakes. He writes : 

" In 407 the Great Dome fell down upon the Rock (as Sakhrah) 
in Jerusalem."f And again : " In 425 earthquakes were many in 
both Egypt and Syria. The most destructive was that felt at 
Ar Ramlah. The people abandoned their houses there during 
many days ; a third of the town was thrown down, and many 
persons were killed under the ruins."J 

Of the destruction at Ar Ramlah we shall speak subsequently 
(see Chapter VIII.). Considerable damage was also done by the 
earthquake of the year 425 to the outer wall of the Haram Area, 
and an extant inscription in situ records the date of the restoration 
carried out here by order of the Fatimite Khalif Adh Dhahir. The 
text of the inscription copied from a stone in the wall of the 
Haram Area, is given by M. de Vogiie in his magnificent work on 
Le Temple de Jerusalem (p. 77). He states it may still be clearly 
read, though in a rather dilapidated condition, on two of the 
battlements near the Cradle of Jesus, at the south-east Angle. 
The translation of this inscription is as follows : 

"... the days of the Imam adh Dhahir It 'fzdz ad Din Allah, the 
Commander of the Faithful . . . (words illegible) . . . the southern 
outer ivall and the . . . (eastern ?) outer wall . . . year four 
hundred and twenty-five" 

That the Aksa Mosque was also seriously damaged at this 
period is proved by an inscription that was read a hundred and 
forty years after this date, on the ceiling of the Dome of the 
Aksa by 'AH of Herat, who visited the Holy City in 1173, while 
the place was still in the hands of the Crusaders. This inscrip- 
tion is apparently no longer to be seen at least, M. de Vogiie 
makes no mention of it in his work. Possibly, however, it might 

* For the first idea of the plans facing pp. 99 and 106, lam indebted to Professor 
Hayter-Lewis (see his paper in the Palestine Exploration Fund " Quarterly 
Statement " for January, 1887). My plans, however, differ slightly from his, 
being drawn to scale on the measurements given by Nasir-i-Khusrau of the 
Mosque as he saw it in 1047. 

f Ibn al Athir, vol. ix. f p. 209. % Idem, vol. ix., p. 298. 


still be discovered were careful search instituted,* for 'Ali of 
Herat's account is very circumstantial, as will be seen by the 
following translation : 

"The Aksa Mosque. In this Mosque is the Mihrab of the 
Khalif 'Omar ; the Franks have not done it any damage. On 
the roof I read the following inscription : In the ?iame of 
Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise to Him who 
brought His servant (Muhammad} by night from the Masjid al 
Haram (at Makkah] to the Masjid al Aksa (at Jerusalem), on 
the precincts of which we invoke a blessing. May Allah give aid to 
His servant and vicar, 'Ali Abu-l Hasan adh Dhahir-li- 2zazi-dm- 
Allah, the Commander of the Faithful. Allah's benediction be upon 
him and upon his immaculate forefathers, and upon his beneficent 
sons / For the restoration of this same Dome and its gilding, 
hath given command our illustrious and dear lord, the chosen servant 
of the Commander of the Faithful, and his devoted servant, Abu-l 
Kasim 'Ali ibn Ahmad Allah give him aid and protection ! The 
whole of this (restoratio?i) was accomplished by the last day of the 
month Dhu-l Ka'adah, of the year 426 : he who (superintended) the 
building of the same being ' Abd Allah ibn al Hasan of Cairo, the 
architect. This inscription, as well as the porticoes," says 'Ali, 
" are all done over with mosaics of gold, and these the Franks 
have not touched or in any way damaged." 

The description of the Aksa in 985 by Mukaddasi is, in the 
main, identical with that given by Nasir, who visited Jerusalem 
sixty years later (1047), and the two accounts taken together enable 
us to gain a very exact idea of the appearance of the Great 
Mosque before the arrival of the Crusaders. The chief difference 
between the Mosque as described by Mukaddasi and that seen by 
Nasir lies in the number of gates. Mukaddasi says there were in 
his day fifteen gates to the north, and eleven to the east; while the 
Persian pilgrim describes only seven gates to the north, and 
ten opening east. Further, Nasir makes no mention of the 

* My translation is from the MS. in the Bodleian, at fol. 36, verso. With 
a view of the possible recovery of this inscription, I have printed the Arabic 
text in the Palestine Exploration Fund " Quarterly Statement " for October, 
1888, p. 280. 


colonnade built by Ibn Tahir, which, according to Mukaddasi, 
formed a portico to the gates opening north. 

The earthquakes of the years 407 (1016) and 425 (1034), 
which took place between the dates of the visits of Mukaddasi 
and Nasir, must account for these changes. Ibn Tahir's colon- 
nade doubtless fell, and the North Wall of the Aksa, weak as 
it was by the apertures pierced in it for the fifteen gates, must have 
suffered much damage. When the walls were restored aftei 
the earthquakes, five gates (instead of fifteen) were left in the 
North Wall, and in the East Wall one of Mukaddasi's eleven gates 
was presumably blocked, leaving the ten open as seen by Nasir. 

Nasir states there were in the Mosque 280 columns. These, in 
a small degree, would recall the forest of columns we see in the 
great Omayyad Mosque at Cordova at this present day the 
Cathedral. That the Aksa was not unlike the Cordovan 
Mosque may be inferred from Idrisi's mention (see p. 108) of the 
two together for the purposes of a comparison of their respective 
sizes. The Cordovan Mosque, begun in 786 A.D., and finished by 
the two successors of the Spanish Khalif 'Abd ar Rahman L, 
shows at the present day no fewer than 850 columns in a space 
that measures 534 feet by 387. In other words, the Spanish 
Mosque is more than double the area of the Aksa in Nasir's days 
(as we shall see by the figures immediately to be quoted), and the 
Cordovan building must have contained just over three times the 
number of columns to be seen in 1047 in the Great Mosque 
at Jerusalem.* 

To return, however, to the description of the Aksa. It will be 
noticed that the number of the columns, stated by Nasir at 280, 
divides up very well to form the fourteen minor aisles going south, 
towards the Kiblah, from the fourteen minor gates in the North 

* The Cordovan Mosque had originally eleven longitudinal aisles, eight more 
being added on the east side by the Khalif Hisham. In its first design, there- 
fore, this Mosque was more like the Aksa even than it came to be after the 
later additions. There were in the Spanish Mosque over thirty rows of 
columns originally, doubtless perfectly symmetrically arranged. At the present 
day many columns are lacking and set out of place, to accommodate the mon- 
strous Gothic chapel which was built in Charles V.'s days. (See Momimentos 
Arabes, por Rafael Contreras, Madrid, 1878, p. 42.) 


Wall, as described by Mukaddasi. I, therefore, take it for granted 
that in Mukaddasi's time also there were these twenty rows of 
columns, standing 6 ells (12 feet) apart, with fourteen columns in 
each row, and it is on this data that the two plans facing pp. 99 
and 1 06 have been drawn. 

Nasir is the first to give us the exact dimensions of the Aksa. 
Twice over, he says that the East Wall that is, the length of the 
Mosque from north to south measured "four hundred and twenty 
cubits " while the width along the North Wall was " 150 cubits."* 
The width of 150 cubits, or 300 feet, tallies well enough with the 
remainder of Nasir's description, and with what is known from 
Mukaddasi and modern measurements in the Haram Area. The 
length of 420 cubits, however, equivalent to 840 feet, is an 
impossible dimension ; for this, measuring from the great South 
Wall of the Haram Area, would bring the Northern Gates and 
Wall of the Aksa over the Dome of the Rock and the Platform. 
Without any great likelihood of error, we should, I think, read 
" 120 " for the 420. This, being 240 feet, would bring the North 
Wall and Gates of Nasir's Mosque on the same line as the 
Gates and North Wall (inside the porch) of the present Mosque. 
Considerable portions of the extant walls between the Northern 
Gates show at the present day (according to M. de Vogue) 
unmistakable traces of ancient structure. (See the plan drawn in 
De Vogue's Jerusalem, plate xxx., and the plan facing p. no.) And 
this confirms the hypothesis that we have in the modern walls the 
line still unaltered of the ancient North Wall of the Mosque as it 
has existed since the days when, on Al Mahdi's restoration, the 
building was shortened in the length, and made broader in 
the width. (See p. 93.) 

Nasir's measurements of the open space between the south-east 
Angle of the Haram Area and the East Wall of the Aksa, namely, 
"200 ells " (see next page) is, in round numbers, exact, for the 
measurement would, as near as may be, have been 400 feet, if 
we draw the plan to scale on the figures given in the foregoing 

The following is a translation of Nasir-i-Khusrau's description of 
the Aksa Mosque in 1047 : 

* Seep. 106. 


" The Friday Mosque (which is the Aksa) lies on the east 
side of the city, and (as before noticed) one of the walls of 
the Mosque (Area) is on the Wadi Jahannum. When you 
examine this wall, which is on the Wadi, from the outside of 
the Haram Area, you may see that for the space of 100 cubits it is 
built up of huge stones, set without mortar or cement. Inside the 
Mosque (Area) the summit of this wall is perfectly level. The 
(Aksa) Mosque occupies the position it does because of the 
Rock As Sakhrah." (N. Kh., 26.) 

After describing the Cradle of Jesus (see Chapter V.), Nasir 
continues : 

"Then passing the entrance to this Mosque (of the Cradle 
of Jesus) near the (south-eastern) Angle of the East Wall (of 
the Haram Area), you come to a great and beautiful Mosque, 
which is other than that called the Cradle of Jesus, and is of many 
times its size. This is called the Masjid al Aksa (or the Further 
Mosque), and it is that to which Allah be He exalted and 
glorified ! brought His chosen (Apostle) in the Night Journey 
from Makkah, and from here caused him to ascend up into 
Heaven, even as is adverted to in the words of the Kuran: 
Glory be to Him who carried His servant by night from the 
Masjid al Haram (the sacred Mosque at Makkah} to the Masjid al 
Aksa (the Mosque that is more Remote at Jerusalem), whose 
precinct we have blessed* On this spot they have built, with 
utmost skill, a Mosque. Its floor is spread with beautiful carpets, 
and special servants are appointed for its service to serve therein 

" From the (south-east) Angle, and along the South Wall (of the 
Haram Area) for the space of 200 ells (or 400 feet), there is no 
building, and this is part of the Court (of the Haram Area). The 
Main-building (of the Aksa Mosque)f is very large, and contains 
the Maksurah (or space railed-off for the officials), which is built 
against the South Wall (of the Haram Area). The length of the 
western side of the Main-building (of the Aksa) measures 

* Kuran, ch. xvii., ver. I. 

t In Persian Ptishtsh, "covered part," corresponding with the Arabic term 
Mughattd, which has the same signification. 


420 cubits (read 120 cubits), and the width of it is 150 cubits.* 
The Aksa Mosque has 280 marble columns, supporting arches that 
are fashioned of stone, and both the shafts and the capitals 
are riveted with lead, so that nothing can be more firm. 
Between the (rows of) columns measures 6 ells. The Mosque is 
everywhere flagged with coloured marble, and the joints are 
riveted in lead. The Maksurah (Plan, C, C) is facing the 
centre of the South Wall (of the Mosque), and is of such size as 
to contain sixteen columns. Above rises a mighty dome, that 
is ornamented with enamel-work, after the fashion to be seen 
in other parts of the Noble Sanctuary. In this place there is 
spread Maghribi matting, and there are lamps and lanterns, 
each suspended by its separate chain. 

"The great Mihrab (or prayer-niche towards Makkah, Plan, G) 
is adorned with enamel-work ;f and on either side the Mihrab are 
two columns of marble, of the colour of red cornelian. The 
whole of the low wall round the Maksurah is built of coloured 
marble. To the right (of the great Mihrab) is the Mihrab of (the 
Khalif ) Mu'awiyah (Plan, F), and to the left is the Mihrab of (the 
Khalif ) 'Omar (Plan, H) May Allah grant him acceptance ! The 
roof of the (Aksa) Mosque is constructed of wood, beautifully 
sculptured. Outside the doors and walls of the Maksurah, and 
in the parts facing (north and east) towards the Court (of the 
Haram Area), are fifteen gateways, each of which is closed by a 
finely-wrought door, measuring 10 ells in height by 6 ells in the 
breadth. Ten of these doorways open in the (east) wall (of the 
Mosque), which is 420 cubits in length (read 120 cubits), and 
there are five in the width (or north wall) of the Mosque, which 
measures 150 cubits in length. Among these gates there is one 

* These are the figures in the British Museum MS., which are also those of 
M. Schefer's French translation. His text, however, runs as follows, and 
differs both from his translation and the text of the British Museum MS.: "The 
main building of the (Aksa) Mosque is very large. The length is four hundred 
and eight cubits, and the MaksCirah lies to the right hand, against the South 
"Wall. The western side of the Main-building measures four hundred and fifty 
cubits in the width." My reasons for substituting 120 for 420 are given on 
p. 104. 

f The present Mihrab only dates from the time of Saladin ; see p. 109. 





oooooooooooooooo oooo 



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of brass, most finely wrought and beautiful ; so that one would 
say it was of gold, set in with fired silver (nieilo ?), and chased.* 
The name of the Khalif Al Mainun is upon it, and they relate 
that Al Mamun sent it from Baghdad.! When all these gates of 
the Mosque are set open, the interior of the building is light, 
even as though it were a court open to the sky. When there is 
wind and rain they close these gates, and then the light comes 
from the windows (above). Along all the four sides of the Main- 
building (of the Aksa Mosque) are chests that belong each one 
to a certain city of Syria and 'Irak, and near these the Mujawiran 
(or pilgrims who are residing for a time in the Holy City) take 
their seat, even as is done in the Haram Mosque at Makkah. 
May Allah be He glorified ! ennoble the same." (N. Kh., 


On July 14, 1099, the Crusaders, under Godfrey de Bouillon, 
became possessed of the Holy City. The Haram Area was given 
over to the Knights of the recently-established Order of the 
Temple, who derived their name from the Dome of the Rock, 
which the Crusaders imagined to be the Temple of the days of 
Christ, and hence named Templum Domini. The Aksa Mosque, 
on the other hand, was known as the Palatium, or Templum 
Salomonis. The Templars made considerable alterations in the 
Aksa Mosque and the adjoining portions of the Haram Area, but 
left the Dome of the Rock untouched. On the west of the Aksa, 
along the south wall of the Haram Area, they built their armoury, 
on the site occupied by the colonnades of arches described by 
Nasir (see Chapter V.). In the substructions of the south-east 
Angle of the Haram Area, to the west of the Cradle of Jesus, they 
stabled their horses, using probably either the ancient "Triple 
Gate," or the " Single Gate " (see Chapter V.), as the mode of 
egress from these vaults. 

The Sicilian geographer Idrisi, who lived at King Roger's Court, 

* The Great Brass Gate mentioned by Mukaddasi ; see p. 99, Plan, D. 

f M. Schefer is, I believe, incorrect when he states in a note to his translation 
of Nasir-i-Khusrau's Sefer Nameh (p. 81, n. 2) that this inscription, of Al 
Mamun, is still extant. It is certainly not to be found in M. de Vogue's 
Jerusalem, p. 86, which is the reference given. 


has left the following short notice of the Aksa Mosque as it stood 
in the early part of the twelfth century A.D. ; but, as has been 
before stated (p. 7), it seems probable that Idrisi had never him- 
self visited Jerusalem, and he must therefore have derived his in- 
formation from books in King Roger's library, and the descriptions 
given him by home-coming pilgrims. Idrisi reports as follows : 

" On leaving the Great Church (of the Resurrection), and going 
eastwards, you come to the holy house built by Solomon, the son 
of David. This, in the time of the Jews, was a mosque (or house 
of prayer), to which pilgrimage was made ; but it was taken out 
of their hands, and they were driven from thence. And when the 
days of Islam came, under the kings of the Muslims, the spot 
came once more to be venerated as the Masjid al Aksa. , * 

" The Masjid al Aksa is the Great Mosque (of Jerusalem), and <j/ 
in the whole earth there is no mosque of greater dimensions than 
this, unless it be the Friday Mosque at Cordova, in Andalusia, 
which they say has a greater extent of roof than has the Aksa, 
only the court of the Aksa Mosque (or Haram Area) is certainly 
larger than is that of the mosque at Cordova. (The Haram Area 
of) the Masjid al Aksa is four-sided; its length measures 200 
fathoms (&$'), and its breadth is 180 fathoms. In that half (of 
the Haram Area) which lies (south) towards the Mihrab (or prayer- 
niche) is (the Main-building of the Aksa Mosque), which is roofed 
with domes of stone set on many rows of columns. The other 
half (of the Haram Area) is an (open) court, and is not roofed 
over. The gate of the Dome of the Rock to the south faces the 
roofed-in portion (which is the Main-building of the Aksa), which 
same was in former times the place of prayer of the Muslims 
Since (the Holy City) was conquered by the Greeks (that is, the 
Crusaders), and it hath remained in their hands even down to the 
time of the writing of this book (in the year 1154 A.D.), they have 
converted this roofed-in portion (which is the Main-building of the 
Aksa Mosque) into chambers, wherein are lodged those companies 
of men known as Ad Dawiyyah (the Templars), whose name 
signifies Secants of God's House" (Id., 7.) 

'AH of Herat, our next authority, writing a few years before 
Saladin's reconquest of the Holy City, after noting the inscription 


set up by the Fatimite Khalif Adh Dhahir (see p. 102), gives 
some details of the dimensions of the Aksa Mosque, which dimen- 
sions agree fairly well with the modern measurements. The 
" pace " he uses may be taken as approximately 30 inches, and 
the " ell" is the royal ell of 18 inches. 

Following on the description of the Cave under the Rock, 'AH 
writes : 

" The width of the Riwak (or main colonnade of the Aksa 
Mosque?) is 15 paces; and its length, from south to north, is 
94 paces (or 235 feet). The height of the Dome of the Aksa is 
60 ells (90 feet), and its circumference is 96 ells (that is, 32 ells 
diameter, or 48 feet). The perimetre of the square (under the 
Dome) is 160 ells (each side being 40 ells, or 60 feet). The 
length of the Aksa, from south to north, is 148 ells (or 222 feet)." 
(A. H., Oxf. MS., f. 39.) 

After Saladin's reconquest of the Holy City in 1187, the whole 
of the Haram Area and its various buildings underwent a complete 
restoration. The account given in the Chronicle of Ibn al Athir 
of what was especially done in the Aksa Mosque is as follows* : 

"Events of the year 583 (1187). When Saladin had taken 
possession of the city and driven out the infidels, he commanded 
that the buildings should be put back to their ancient usage. Now 
the Templars had built to the west of the Aksa a building for 
their habitation, and constructed there all that they needed of 
granaries, and also latrines, with other such places, and they had 
even enclosed a part of the Aksa in their new building. Saladin 
commanded that all this should be set back to its former state, 
and he ordered that the Masjid (or Harem Area) should be 
cleansed, as also the Rock, from all the filth and the impurities 
that were there. All this was executed as he commanded." 

Over the Great Mihrab, in the Aksa Mosque, may still be read 
the inscription set here by Saladin after this restoration was com- 
pleted. The Arabic text is given by M. de Vogue* in Le Temple 
de Jerusalem, p. 101. The translation of the same is as follows : 

"/# the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful ! Hath 
ordered the repair of this holy Mihrab, and the restoration of the 
* Ibn al Athir, vol. ix., p. 364. 


Aksa Mosque which was founded in piety the servant of Allah, 
and His regent, Yusuf ibn Ayyub Abu-l Mudhaffar, the victorious 
king, Salah ad Dunya wa ad Din (Saladin), after that Allah had 
conquered (the City) by his hand during the month of the year 583. 
And he asketh of Allah to inspire him with thankfulness for this 
favour, and to make him a partaker of the remission (of sins), through 
His mercy and forgiveness" 

Subsequent to the Muslim reconquest of the Holy City, the 
only mention made by the historians of any alterations in the Aksa 
Mosque are those noted by Mujir ad Din. He states that the 
south wall of the Haram Area, near the Mihrab of David, was re- 
built by the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, Muhammad, son of Kala'un, 
who reigned from 1310 to 1341. The same Prince also ordered 
the south end of the Aksa to be lined with marble slabs, and 
caused two windows to be pierced there, in the south wall, to right 
and to left of the Great Mihrab. (M. a. D., 438.) 

After the times of Saladin there is no detailed description of 
the dimensions and appearance of the Aksa Mosque till we come 
to that written by Mujir ad Din in 1496 ; and in his day the 
Mosque was evidently identical with the one we now see. The 
present Mosque (exactly like that described in 1496) has seven 
gates to the north, and only one to the east. Two other gates, 
on the western side, lead one into the court, and one into what 
was, in Crusading days, the Templars' Armoury, sometimes 
called Bakd'at al Baida (Plan, F, F'), and incorrectly Al Aksa al 
Kadwiah (' the Ancient Aksa '), which Mujir ad Din names ' the 
Women's Mosque.' Mujir ad Din's description is as follows : 

" The Aksa Mosque measures in length north to south, from the 
Great Mihrab to the threshold of the Great Gate opposite to it, 
100 ells of the workman's ell (D/iira al 'Amal). This does not 
include the bow of the Mihrab, nor the portico outside the northern 
doors. The width from the Eastern Gate (C) through which 
you go out to the Cradle of Jesus to the Western Gate, is 76 ells 
of the workman's ell.* The Mosque has ten gates leading out to 
the Court of the Haram Area. Seven are to the north, opening 

* In the present plan these lines measure 230 feet by 170, giving for the 
workman's ell 2-3 feet, and 2*24 feet roughly, z\ feet. 



*/ ~ 

VI h 


f, ^ 


from each one of the seven aisles of the Mosque.* Then there is 
the eastern door and the western door, and the door leading to 
the building known as the Jami' an Nisa, ' the Mosque of the 
Women ' (the Templars' Armoury, Plan, F, F'). Now from the 
western part of the Aksa, there opens this great hall, called Jami' 
an Nisa. It has a double aisle running east and west, roofed 
by ten vaults, supported on nine piers, very solidly built. I 
learn that this place was built during the days of the Fatimites." 
(M.a. D, 367, 368.) 

The last assertion is presumably in error, for the Templars' 
Armoury does not date from Fatimite days. 

Of the Mihrabs in the Aksa Mosque, Suyuti gives the following 
notes, showing that in his day (1470) they stood exactly as they 
do at present : 

" The Mihrab of Zakariyya (Zacharias). Most agree that it is 
that within the (Aksa) Mosque in the aisle (riwak\ near the 
eastern door." 

In the Muslim legend, "Zacharias, the son of Barachias, whom 
ye slew between the temple and the altar" (St. Matth. xxiv. 35), 
and Zachariah, the son of Jehoiada, the priest who was stoned 
with stones at the "commandment of the king in the court of the 
house of the Lord" (2 Chron. xxiv. 22), and Zacharias, the father 
of John the Baptist, are all one and the same personage. The 
Mihrab Zakariyya is still pointed out at the point D on the plan 
of the Aksa Mosque. 

Suyuti continues : 

"The Mihrab of Mu'awiyah. This is said to be the beautiful 

Mihrab which is at the present time enclosed within the Maksurah 

(the part railed-off), for the preacher of the Khutbah (or Friday 

.sermon). Between it and the great Mihrab comes the beautiful 

pulpit. As to the Mihrab of 'Omar, people differ which this may 

* The accompanying illustration of the north front and portico of the Aksa 
represents the building as it stands at the present day. The gable or pitched 
roof (called Jamalan, or " camel-backed " in Arabic), covering the central 
nave, is here shown. This form of roof, according to Mukaddasi (see pp. 21 
and 99), was peculiar to the Mosques in Syria ; in other countries the roofs of 
the Mosques were generally flat and covered with a coating of clay. 


be. Some say it is the great Mihrab, close to which now stands 
the Noble Pulpit, and fronting the Great Gate, through which you 
enter the Aksa Mosque. Others say that the Mihrab of 'Omar is 
the one in the eastern aisle of the Aksa Mosque, being in the 
(south) wall of the Mosque, seeing this said aisle, with its 
adjacent parts, is called the Jami' of 'Omar (Plan, E), and that 
this is the very place which he cleared of filth, he, 'Omar, and 
those who were with him of the Companions, and swept clean 
before they prayed thereon. Whence it is called the Jami' of 
'Omar. Most, however, are of the opinion before mentioned, 
namely, that the Mihrab of 'Omar is the great Mihrab near the 
Mimbar, or Pulpit." (3., 264.) 

The small building on the east of the Aksa, along the south 
boundary wall, known at the present day as the Mosque of 'Omar 
(Plan, E), and here referred to, is of comparatively modern con- 
struction, and subsequent to the days of Salad in. The present 
building lying to the east of the north portico and gates of the 
Aksa, called the Farisiyyah (not shown on the plan facing p. no), 
was built by a certain Faris ad Din Albki, about the year (755) 
1354. (M. a. D., 390.) 

The question now arises : When did the great change in the 
plan of the Aksa Mosque take place ? from the many-columned 
Mosque of the days of Nasir (as shown in the plans facing pp. 99 
and 106) to the comparatively poor building described by Mujirad 
Din, and seen at the present day ? (the plan of which faces p. no). 

The Arab chroniclers tell us nothing very definite on this point, 
but all we can gather from various sources inclines us fully to agree 
with Professor Hayter-Lewis in thinking that the great alteration in 
the Mosque must have been made shortly after the Holy City had 
been taken by Godfrey de Bouillon. Mr. Hayter-Lewis writes :* 

1 The probability is that the Mosque was injured in the capture 
of the town by the Crusaders. By them it was assigned as the 
residence for the Templars who have left very clear traces of their 
occupation of the Aksa ; more especially at the southern part, 
where an apse to the south-east chapel, and portions of a richly- 
ornamented arcade to the south wall, are very evident. Probably 

* The Holy Places of Jerusalem, by T. Hayter-Lewis, F.S.A., p. 87. 


it was by them repaired and reconstructed much as it appears 
now, except that when Saladin reconquered the city he restored it 
to its original purposes of a Mosque, uncovered the Mihrab, which 
had been blocked up by a thick wall, as is stated in an inscription 
by him, decorated the whole, and executed, circa 1188, the work 
now seen in the transepts.' 

The historical data given by the Muslim writers would certainly 
seem to corroborate this view. Tracing the history point by point 
backward, we find, in the first place, that the Mosque, as it now 
stands, is identical with that described by Mujir ad Din in 1496. 
Now Mujir ad Din devotes some pages of the section of his work 
on the topography of the Holy City (pp. 432-447 of the Cairo 
text) to a careful enumeration of the long list of Mamluk Sultans 
who succeeded to the throne of Saladin (ending with the Sultan of 
his own days), with a view of mentioning the various monuments 
they had left in the Haram Area and Jerusalem ; and nowhere 
does he make mention of any extensive alterations having been 
effected by the Mamluk Sultans in the Aksa. . Further, the 
description given in the chronicles of the restorations effected by 
Saladin in the Mosque after the year 1187. shows that the Mosque, 
as it came into his hands, after the expulsion of the Crusaders, was 
in all essential points what Mujir ad Din described in 1496, and 
what we now see. From 1099 to 1187 the Holy City was in the 
hands of the Crusaders, and in 1047 we have Nasir-i-Khusrau's 
account of the Aksa when he visited it a magnificent building, 
double the width of the present Mosque, with two hundred and 
eighty pillars supporting the roof, and fifteen aisles. The con- 
clusion can only be that it was during the occupation of the 
Crusaders that the Mosque was reduced from its original grand 
proportions to the narrow limits we at present see. This conclu- 
sion is confirmed when we remember that the Latins considered 
the Aksa Mosque to hold a very secondary place (while the Dome 
of the Rock was in their eyes the true Templum Domini) ; hence 
that the Knights Templars had no compunction in remodelling 
probably the whole building, when they turned part of the Aksa 
into a church for the order, and established their mainguard and 
armoury in the outlying quarters of the great Mosque. 




In remarkable contrast with the little that is known of the early 
architectural history of the Aksa Mosque, is the very full account 
given by the Annalists of the date and the historical incidents 
connected with the foundation of the Dome over the Sacred Rock. 
From the earliest times, also, there are extant such detailed descrip- 
tions of this beautiful building, that it may be affirmed, almost 
certainly, that the edifice as it now stands in the nineteenth 
century,* is (in regard to ground-plan and elevation) substantially 
identical with that which the Khalif 'Abd al Malik erected in the 
year 691 (A.H. 72). The Cupola, it is true, has on many occasions 
been shattered by earthquakes, and the walls possibly have often 
been damaged and repaired, but the octagonal ground-plan and 
the system of concentric colonnades, through all the restorations 
have remained unaltered ; and even to the number of the 
windows, the Dome of the Rock, as described in A.D. 903 by 
Ibn al Fakih, is almost exactly similar to the Kubbat as Sakhrah 
of the present day. 

In the matter of the Rock which the Dome is intended to 
cover, it must be remembered that this was held sacred, in the 
eyes of Muslim true believers, both as representing the ancient 
Kiblah of Moses for on the Rock they say the Ark of the 
Covenant was placed and as the first Kiblah in Islam, for it 
was only in the month of Rajab of the second year of the Flight 
that the revelation came to Muhammad telling him that the 
Ka'abah at Makkah was for all future times to be the sole 
Kiblah-point, towards which his followers should turn their faces 
in prayer. Further, this Rock was an object of veneration to 
the True Believer, since, according to the received tradition 
already quoted (p. 89), their Prophet had from this Rock 
ascended into Paradise, and returned again to earth at this spot, 
after beholding the presence of Allah. That the Rock was a 
sacred rock to all Muslims, it is all important to remember, in 
view of the events which induced 'Abd al Malik to erect the great 
Dome above it. Before quoting the accounts of this event given 

* See frontispiece. 


in the Arab Chronicles, it may be well to borrow a few lines 
from a work written by the late Professor E. H. Palmer, which 
portray the condition of the Omayyad Khalifate at the period 
when the Dome of the Rock was built : 

' In A.D. 684, in the reign of 'Abd al Malik, the ninth successor 
of Muhammad, and the fifth Khalif of the house of Omayyah, 
events happened which once more turned people's attention to the 
City of David. For eight years the Muslim Empire had been 
distracted by factions and party quarrels. The inhabitants of the 
two Holy Cities, Makkah and Al Madinah, had risen against the 
authority of the legitimate Khalifs, and had proclaimed 'Abd 
Allah ibn Zubair their spiritual and temporal head. The Khalifs 
Yazid and Mu'awiyah had in vain attempted to suppress the insur- 
rection ; the usurper had contrived to make his authority acknow- 
ledged throughout Arabia and the African provinces, and had 
established the seat of his government at Makkah itself. 'Abd al 
Malik trembled for his own rule ; year after year crowds of 
pilgrims would visit the Ka'abah, and Ibn Zubair's religious and 
political influence would thus become disseminated throughout the 
whole of Islam. In order to avoid these consequences, and 
at the same time to weaken his rival's prestige, 'Abd al Malik 
conceived the plan of diverting men's minds from the pilgrimage 
to Makkah, and inducing them to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem 

Ya'kubi, one of the earliest of the Muslim historians, writing 
of the events which came to pass in 'Abd al Malik's days, gives a 
very clear account of how that Khalif, for the political reason just 
mentioned, attempted to make the True Believers circumambulate 
the Rock at Jerusalem, in place of the Black Stone in the Ka'abah 
at Makkah. Had the attempt succeeded, the Khalif would thereby 
have instituted annual rites of pilgrimage in Jerusalem on the 
pattern of those which, since the Prophet's days, had been per- 
formed in the Makkah Haram ; and the golden stream of pilgrim 
offerings and fees would have flowed into 'Abd al Malik's treasury, 
instead of into the pockets of the inhabitants of Makkah, who 

* Jerusalem the City of Herod and Saladin, by W. Besant and E. H. Palmer, 
1871, p. 78. 



were at this time supporting the claims of his rival, Ibn Zubair, 
to the Khalifate. Had 'Abd al Malik's attempt succeeded, it is a 
question whether Jerusalem might not then have become the 
capital of the Omayyads, in place of Damascus. As events 
turned out, the Khalif failed to divert the Muslim pilgrimage to 
the Holy City of Palestine, and Makkah did not lose its pre : 
eminence as the religious centre of Islam, even when Ibn Zubair 
was defeated and slain, and Damascus was made the seat of the 
Omayyad Khalifate. To return, however, to the historian Ya'kiibi. 
The passage of his writings relating to the building of the Dome 
of the Rock is the following : 

" Then 'Abd al Malik forbade the people of Syria to make the 
pilgrimage (to Makkah) ; and this by reason that 'Abd Allah ibn 
az Zubair was wont to seize on them during the time of the 
pilgrimage, and force them to pay him allegiance which, 'Abd al 
Malik having knowledge of, forbade the people to journey forth to 
Makkah. But the people murmured thereat, saying, ' How dost 
thou forbid us to make the pilgrimage to Allah's house, seeing 
that the same is a commandment of Allah upon us ?' But the 
Khalif answered them, * Hath not Ibn Shihab az Zuhri* told you 
how the Apostle of Allah did say : Men shall journey to but three 
Masjids (mosques, namely], Al Masjid Haram (at Makkah}, my 
Masjid (at Madinah] , and the Masjid of the Holy City (which is 
Jerusalem] ? So this last is now appointed for you (as a place of 
worship) in lieu of the Masjid al Haram (of Makkah). And this 
Rock (the Sakhrah of Jerusalem), of which it is reported that 
upon it the Apostle of Allah set his foot when he ascended into 
heaven, shall be unto you in the place of the Ka'abah.' Then 
'Abd al Malik built above the Sakhrah a Dome, and hung it 
around with curtains of brocade, and he instituted doorkeepers 
for the same, and the people took the custom of circumambulating 
the Rock (as Sakhrah of Jerusalem), even as they had paced 
round the Ka'abah (at Makkah), and the usage continued thus all 
the days of the dynasty of the Omayyads." (Yb. Hist., ii. u.) 

* A celebrated traditionist, who was personally acquainted with many of the 
Prophet's Companions. He died in 124 (742), being seventy-two or more 
years old. His life is given by Ibn Khallikan, Biographical Dictionary t De 
Slane's Translation, vol. ii., p. 581. 


The above account, of itself, is sufficient to disprove the theory 
very skilfully argued by the late Mr. Fergusson, of which the 
cardinal idea was that this Dome of the Rock (and not the 
Church of the Sepulchre) represents and stands in the place of 
the (ireat Church erected by Constantine, over our Lord's tomb. 
Mr. Fergusson stated that he based his theory on historical data, 
as well as on arguments drawn from the architectural style of the 
building (which in his eyes was purely Byzantine), and he roundly 
asserted that " no Mohammedan writer of any sort, anterior to 
the recovery of the city from the Christians by Saladin, ventures 
to assert that his countrymen built the Dome of the Rock,"* a 
statement which can no longer stand, in view of the authority here 

Mukaddasi, who wrote in the year 985, gives another version 
of the reasons which induced 'Abd al Malik to build the Dome 
over the Rock, which it may be well to quote at the present point. 
The paragraph occurs after the description of the Great Mosque 
at Damascus, which will be given later on (see Chapter VI.). 
Mukaddasi then continues : 

" Now one day I said, speaking to my father's brother, * O my 
uncle, verily it was not well of the Khalif al Walid to expend so 
much of the wealth of the Muslims on the Mosque at Damascus. 
Had he expended the same on making roads, or for caravanserais, 
or in the restoration of the Frontier Fortresses, it would have been 
more fitting and more excellent of him.' But my uncle said to 
me in answer, ' O my little son, thou hast not understanding ! 
Verily Al Walid was right, and he was prompted to a worthy work. 
For he beheld Syria to be a country that had long been occupied 
by the Christians, and he noted herein the beautiful churches still 
belonging to them, so enchantingly fair, and so renowned for their 
splendour, even as are the Rumanian (the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre at Jerusalem), and the churches of Lydda and Edessa. 
So he sought to build for the Muslims a mosque that should 
prevent their regarding these, and that should be unique and a 
wonder to the world. And in like manner is it not evident how 

* See his article on Jerusalem in Dr. Smith's " Dictionary of the Bible,'' 
vol. i., p. 1030. 


the Khalif 'Abd al Malik, noting the greatness of the Dome of the 
(Holy Sepulchre called) Al Kumamah and its magnificence, was 
moved lest it should dazzle the minds of the Muslims, and hence 
erected above the Rock, the Dome which now is seen there ?' "* 
(Muk, 159.) 

That the Khalif 'Abd al Malik was the builder of the Dome of 
the Rock is further confirmed by the well-known inscription 
which may still be read above the cornice of the octagonal colon- 
nade supporting the Cupola. Running round this is a magnificent 
Cufic script, in yellow on blue tiles, which must have been placed 
here by 'Abd al Malik at the time when his building was com- 
pleted. It is dated A.H. 72 (691). Unfortunately, some of the 
tiles were apparently taken out about a century and a half later 
when, in the days of the Khalif al Mamun, son of Harun ar 
Rashid, the Dome underwent restoration, and in their place other 
tiles, but of a darker blue, have been substituted, bearing the 
name of Al Mamun in place of that of 'Abd al Malik. This 
fraudulent substitution, or forgery, perpetrated presumably by the 
courtly architect of the Abbasides, stands, however, self-confessed 
by the forgers having omitted to alter the date of 'Abd al 
Malik's reign, that is, the year 72 A.H. Al Mamun, whose name 
they have substituted immediately before this date, was only born 
in A.H. 170, and was Khalif from A.H. 198 218. Also, as noted 
above, the colouring of the newer tiles is of a darker tint, which 
does not correspond with the blue of the earlier tiles. Further, 
the inserted letters (of Al Mamun's name and titles), being too 
numerous for the space at command, have had to be closer set 
than are those in the original portions of the inscription. To 
make all this as clear as is possible to the English reader, the 
following translation of the inscription is printed in capitals to 
represent the square Cufic script. In this the three lines give the 
words as they stand at the present day. The letters placed closer 
together represent the forged part of the inscription in the Arabic, 
much crowded as to space, and written on the darker tiles. These 
have been substituted by the architects of Al Mamun. The letters 

* See also p. 98, where Mukaddasi speaks again of the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre, and of the Aksa having been built to rival this in magnificence. 


added below the second line indicate the inscription that probably 
stood in the place of these substituted tiles, the letters of 'Abd al 
Malik's name being spaced out to bring them even with those in 
the remainder of the inscription.* 



Another dated inscription has also been discovered in the Dome 
of the Rock, stamped on each of the bronze plates which are 
attached to the lintels above the four outer doors facing the car- 
dinal points of the octagonal building. The date given is 2i6A.H., 
corresponding to 831 A.D. These are also written in a fine Cufic 
script, and relate, in all probability, to the very restoration under 
Al Mamun's orders, during which the falsification just described of 
'Abd al Malik's great tile-inscription was perpetrated. The inscrip- 
tion on the plates may be translated as follows :t 

" According to what hath commanded the servant of Allah * Abd 
Allah, the Imam Al Mamun, the Commander of the Faithful may 
Allah prolong his existence ! and under the governorship of the 
brother of the Commander of the Faithful, Abu Ishak, the son of the 
Commander of the Faithful Ar Rashid may Allah lengthen his 
(Abu Ishak's) life! And it hath been accomplished at the hands of 
Salih ibn Ya/iya, Freedman of the Commander of the Faithful, in 
the month Rabi" 1 al Akhir of the year two hundred and sixteen" 

Al Mamun reigned from 813 (198) to 833 (218), when he was 
succeeded by the brother here mentioned, Abu Ishak, who, on 
becoming Khalif, took the name of Al Mu'tasim. Abu Ishak lived 
on excellent terms with his brother, the Khalif Al Mamun, and, 

* A beautiful chromo-lithographic facsimile of the original Cufic text of this 
inscription is given by M. de Vogue on plate xxi. of his work Le Temple de 
Jerusalem. It is also printed (in the Cufic Character) on p. 88 of the volume 
on Jerusalem, published by the Palestine Exploration Fund. A lithographic 
facsimile may also be seen on the plate facing p. 484 of \h& Journal A siatique, 
vol. ix., Huitieme Serie, 1887. 

t The text is given by M. de Vogue, Jerusalem, p. 86. 


during the very year given in the inscription, the Chronicles* 
relate that he commanded a body of troops in Al Mamun's expe- 
dition against the Greeks, and afterwards came with the Khalif to 
visit Damascus. It is not, however, stated that he was at that 
time Governor of Syria (as the inscription rather implies), but he 
was, probably, already the recognised heir-apparent, and, as such, 
doubtless, his name appears on these lintels. 

The earliest detailed description of the Dome of the Rock, is 
that left us by Ibn al Fakih in the year 903 (290). As will be seen 
from the Plan of the Haram Area (at the end of Chapter IV. ), the 
octagonal building supporting the Dome stands at about the centre- 
point of a square-shaped platform. This platform is of a man's 
height above the general level of the court of the Haram Area, and 
is ascended by stairways. On the platform, besides the Dome of 
the Rock, stand several other very much smaller Domes. The de- 
scription of these will be given in more detail at a later page. 
(See Chapter IV.) 

Ibn al Fakih speaks of all these edifices in the following terms : 
" In the middle of the Haram Area is a platform, measuring 300 
ells in length, by 140 ells across, and its height is 9 ells. It has 
six flights of stairways, leading up to the Dome of the Rock. The 
Dome rises in the middle of this platform. The ground-plan of 
the same measures 100 ells by 100, its height is 70 ells, and its 
circumference is 360 ells. In the Dome every night they light 
300 lamps. It has four gates roofed over, and at each gate are 
four doors, and over each gate is a portico of marble. The stone 
of the Rock measures 34 ells by 27 ells, and under the Rock is a 
cavern in which the people pray. This cavern is capable of con- 
taining sixty-two persons. (The edifice of) the Dome is covered 
with white marble, and its roof with red gold. In its walls, and 
high in (the drum), are fifty-six windows (bab\ glazed with glass of 
various hues ; each measures 6 ells in the height, by 6 spans 
across. The Dome, which was built by 'Abd al Malik ibn 
Marwan is supported on twelve piers and thirty pillars. It con- 
sists of a dome over a dome (that is, an inner and an outer), on 
which are sheets of lead and white marble (below). 

* Ibn al Athir, vi. 295. 


" To the east of the Dome of the Rock stands the Dome of 
the Chain. It is supported by twenty marble columns, and its 
roof is covered with sheets of lead. In front of it (again to the 
east), is the Praying Station of Al Khidr (St. George or Elias). 
The platform occupies the middle of the Haram Area. To the 
north is the Dome of the Prophet, and the Station of Gabriel ; 
near the Rock is the Dome of the Ascension." (I. F., 100, 101.) 

With this description of the year 903, the Dome of the Rock as 
it now stands, tallies to a remarkable degree. The ell then in use 
was that known as the Dhire! Maliki, or royal ell, which may 
be estimated as approximately equivalent to 18 inches. The 
perimeter of the octagonal walls stated at 360 ells, gives 45 ells, 
or 67^ feet for the length of each face of the octagon ; the measure- 
ment to day is 66 feet. 

The measurement of 100 ells by the like, for the ground-plan, 
corresponds fairly well also, since the space between the thresholds 
of the opposite doors, north and south, or east and west, measures 
almost exactly 150 feet. 

The height, given at 70 ells, or 105 feet, shows that the Dome 
was in these early times of much the same height as is the present 
one, built after the earthquakes, which measures 112 feet from 
floor to pinnacle. The four gates and their porticos are exactly 
what is found at the present day, as also is the Rock itself and the 
Cavern below it. A more remarkable coincidence is afforded by 
the number of the windows mentioned by Ibn al Fakih. In the 
present edifice there are sixteen stained-glass windows, pierced in 
the drum under the Dome, and below this are five openings in 
each of the eight side walls forming the octagon. This (5 times 8 
added to 16) gives fifty-six for total, the exact number mentioned 
by Ibn al Fakih as existing in the year 903. 

In the matter of the columns supporting the Dome, some change 
in the number and arrangement appears to have taken place at 
various times since the year 903, probably during the many 
restorations after the shocks of earthquake. 

The twelve piers mentioned still exist as described by Ibn al 
Fakih, a reference to the present plan (facing p. 114) showing four 
piers in the inner circle supporting the Dome, and eight in the outer 


circle marking the angles of the octagon. The number of the 
minor pillars, however, is not so exact. At the present day there 
are three pillars between each of the four piers of the inner circle, 
and two pillars between each of the eight piers of the outer circle. 
This gives a total for the present pillars of twenty-eight, and Ibn 
al Fakih says there were thirty in his day. The difference, 
however, is not very material. 

On this subject of the number of the piers and pillars, it may be 
well to note the details given by the Spanish Arab Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, 
who wrote about this same period (circa A.M. 300, A.D. 913). He 
states that " within the Sakhrah (or Dome of the Rock) are thirty 
columns, and the columns which are without (khdrij, presumably 
meaning 'round ') the Sakhrah (or Rock) are eighteen in number." 
There is, however, some ambiguity in the term khdrij, and the 
numbers agree neither with those given by Ibn al Fakih, his 
contemporary, nor with those seen at the present day, as shown in 
the plan (facing p. 114). 

The dimensions Ibn al Fakih gives for the Platform, and 
his description of the other minor Domes standing on this Plat- 
form, will be noticed on a subsequent page. (See Chapter IV.) 

Next in order comes the account of the Dome of the Rock left 
by Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, three-quarters of a century after 
the time of Ibn al Fakih. This description of the year 978 has 
been copied verbatim by the geographer Abu-1-Fida in his account 
of Palestine written in 1321; and it maybe cited as an instance of 
the uncritical way in which Arab writers plagiarise each from his 
predecessors. Ibn Haukal and Istakhri write : 

" The Holy City is nearly as large at Al Ramlah (the capital of 
the province of Filastin). It is a city perched high on the hills, 
and you have to go up to it from all sides. There is here a 
Mosque, a greater than which does not exist in all Islam. 
The Main-building (which is the Aksa Mosque) occupies the 
south-eastern angle of the Mosque (Area, or Noble Sanctuary), 
and covers about half the breadth of the same. The remainder 
of the Haram Area is left free, and is nowhere built over, except 
in the part around the Rock. At this place there has been raised 
a stone (terrace) like a platform, of great unhewn blocks, in 


the centre of which, covering the Rock, is a magnificent Dome. 
The Rock itself is about breast-high above the ground, its length 
and breadth being almost equal, that is to say, some 10 ells* 
and odd, by the same across. You may descend below it by 
steps, as though going down to a cellar, passing through a 
door measuring some 5 ells by 10. The chamber below the 
Rock is neither square nor round, and is above a man's stature 
in height." (Is., 56; I. H., in ; A. F., 227.) 

Mukaddasi, a native of Jerusalem, whose account (985) dates 
from a few years later than the above by Ibn Haukal, taken with 
that left by the Persian traveller Nasir, who visited the Holy City 
in 1047, gives us a detailed and graphic picture of the Dome of 
the Rock in the century preceding the arrival of the first Crusaders. 
Mukaddasi, immediately after the description of the Aksa Mosque 
quoted above (pp. 98, 99), writes as follows : 

"The Court (of the Haram Area) is paved in all parts; in 
its centre rises a Platform, like that in the Mosque at Al Madinah, 
to which, from all four sides, ascend broad flights of steps. 
On this Platform stand four Domes. Of these, the Dome of the 
Chain, the Dome of the Ascension, and the Dome of the 
Prophet are of small size. Their domes are covered with sheet- 
lead, and are supported on marble pillars, being without walls. 

"In the centre of the Platform is the Dome of the Rock, which 
rises above an octagonal building having four gates, one opposite 
to each of the flights of steps leading up from the Court. These 
four are the Kiblah (or southern) Gate ; the Gate of (the Angel) 
Israfil (to the east) ; the Gate As Sur (or of the Trumpet), to the 
north ; and the Women's Gate (Bab an Nisa), which last opens 
towards the west. All these are adorned with gold, and closing 
each of them is a beautiful door of cedar-wood finely worked 
in patterns. These last were sent hither by command of the 
mother of the Khalif Al Muktadir-billah. f Over each of the 
gates is a porch of marble, wrought with cedar-wood, with brass- 
work without ; and in this porch, likewise, are doors, but these are 

* Too low an estimate. 

f He reigned at Baghdad, 908 to 932. 


"Within the building are three concentric colonnades, with 
columns of the most beautiful marble, polished, that can be seen, 
and above is a low vaulting. Inside these (colonnades) is the 
central hall over the Rock ; it is circular, not octagonal, and is 
surrounded by columns of polished marble supporting circular 
arches. Built above these, and rising high into the air, is the 
drum, in which are large windows ; and over the drum is the 
Dome. The Dome, from the floor up to the pinnacle, which rises 
into the air, is in height 100 ells. From afar off you may perceive 
on the summit of the Dome the beautiful pinnacle (set thereon), 
the size of which is a fathom and a span. The Dome, externally, 
is completely covered with brass plates gilt, while the building 
itself, its floor, and its walls, and the drum, both within and with- 
out, are ornamented with marble and mosaics, after the manner that 
we shall describe* when speaking of the Mosque of Damascus. 
The Cupola of the Dome is built in three sections ; the inner is of 
ornamental panels. Next come iron beams interlaced, set in free, 
so that the wind may not cause the Cupola to shift ; and the third 
casing is of wood, on which are fixed the outer plates. Up 
through the middle of the Cupola goes a passage-way, by which a 
workman may ascend to the pinnacle for aught that may be wanting, 
or in order to repair the structure. At the dawn, when the light 
of the sun first strikes on the Cupola, and the Drum reflects 
his rays, then is this edifice a marvellous sight to behold, and one 
such that in all Islam I have never seen the equal ; neither have I 
heard tell of aught built in pagan times that could rival in grace 
this Dome of the Rock." (Muk., 169, 170.) 

Between the times of Mukaddasi and Nasir, the Holy City 
suffered severely from shocks of earthquake, as reported in the 
Chronicle of Ibn al Athir (see above, p. 101), and in the year 1016 
(407), as there stated, the Dome over the Rock fell in. The dates 
of the repairs subsequently undertaken are recorded by two extant 
inscriptions in the Cupola, the first of which is of a tenor that 
recalls the one that was read and copied in the Dome of the 
Aksa Mosque by 'Ali of Herat (see above, p. 102). 

The Holy City had since the year 969 been in the possession of 
* See Chapter VI. 


the Khalif of Cairo, and it was the Fatimite Adh Dhahir who 
ordered the restorations which were completed in 1022 (413) and 
1027 (418), and which are referred to in the two following 

The first is written in the ancient Karmatic characters, and is to 
be seen on a beam in the framework of the Dome. M. de Vogue 
has given a facsimile of this inscription on plate xxxvii. of his 
work, Le Temple de Jerusalem. The following is a translation : 

" In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Verily 
he who believeth in Allah restoreth the Mosques of Allah. Hath 
commanded the restoration of this Dome, the Imam Abu-l-Hasan 
'Ali adh DJiahir-li-Izaz-ad-Din- Allah, the son of Al Hakim-bi-Amr- 
Illah, Commander of the Faithful the benediction of Allah be upon 
him, and on his most pure and generous forefathers ! This was 
executed at the hand of his servant ihe Amir, the supporter of the 
Imams, the sustainer of the State, 'Alt ibn Ahmad Inabat Allah, in 
the year 413 (A.D. 1022). May Allah perpetuate the glory and tJic 
stability of our Master, the Commander of the Faithful, giving him 
kingship over the east and the west of the earth, for Him we praise 
at the beginning and the ending of all actions /" 

The second inscription is to be seen inside the Dome of the 
Rock on the tile-work. It is unfortunately much mutilated, but 
the last few words are plainly legible. M. de Vogue (Jerusalem, 
Plate xxiii.) has reproduced it in chromolithograph. The letters 
are yellow on the dark green ground of the enamelled tile. The 
last words may be translated : 

". . . . in the year four hundred and eighteen." 

A.M. 418 corresponds with A.D. 1027, which would lead us to 
suppose that these tiles were put up to replace those damaged 
by the earthquakes. 

Nasir-i-Khusrau's account, describing what he saw during his 
visit to Jerusalem in 1047, is the last we possess prior to the 
Crusades. It must be noted that the "cubit," or " ell "(as the 
Persian measures Arsh and Gez are here rendered), is not the 
Dhira Maliki, the royal ell, of 1 8 inches, but the later Arab ell, 
equivalent to about 2 feet English measure. At this valuation, 
Nasir's measurements will be found to agree wonderfully exactly 



with those of the present Dome of the Rock. The arrangement 
and number of the " piers " and " columns " described by Nasir 
does not, however, coincide with those seen at the present day. 
Nasir gives inner circle : four piers, with two columns (eight in 
all) between each ; outer circle : eight piers, with three columns 
(twenty-four in all) between each pier. At the present day there 
are, on the contrary, three columns between each of the four 
piers of the inner circle, and two only between each of the eight 
piers in the outer ring. (See plan facing p. 114.) Hence Nasir's 
total of the columns (not counting piers) is thirty-two, while the 
present number is twenty-eight. (See also above, p. 121.) 

South. Door 

North. Door 



After describing the Aksa Mosque, Nasir continues : 
"The Kubbat as Sakhrah (the Dome of the Rock) which 
Rock was, of old, the Kiblah is so situate as to stand in the 
middle of the platform, which itself occupies the middle of the 
Haram Area. The edifice is built in the form of a regular octagon, 
and each of its eight sides measures 33 cubits (or 66 feet). There 
are four gates facing the four cardinal points namely, east, west, 


north, and south ; and between each of these is one of the oblique 
sides of the octagon. The walls are everywhere constructed of 
squared stones, and are 20 cubits (or 40 feet in height). The 
Rock itself measures 100 ells round. It has no regular form, 
being neither square nor circular ; but is shapeless, like a boulder 
from the mountains. Beyond the four sides of the Rock rise four 
piers of masonry that equal in height the walls of the (octagonal) 
building ; and between every two piers, on the four sides, stand a 
pair of marble pillars, which are like to the height of the piers. 
Resting on these twelve piers and pillars is the structure of the 
Dome, under which lies the Rock ; and the circumference of the 
Dome is 120 cubits (or 240 feet).* 

" Between the walls of the (octagonal) building, and the circle 
of piers and pillars and by the term ' pier ' (sutiin) I understand 
a support that is built up, and is square ; while the term ' pillar ' 
(ustuwanaJi) denotes a support that is cut from a single block of 
stone, and is round between this inner circle of supports, then, 
and the outer walls of the edifice, are built eight f other piers of 
squared stones, and between every two of them are placed, equi- 
distant, three columns in coloured marble. Thus, while in the 
inner circle between every two piers there are two columns, there 
are here (in the outer circle) between every two piers, three 
columns. On the capital of each pier are set four volutes (shakh\ 
from each of which springs an arch ; and on the capital of each 
column are set two volutes, sc that every column is the spring of 
two arches, while at every pier is the spring of four. 

" The Great Dome, which rises above the twelve piers standing 
round the Rock, can be seen from the distance of a league away, 

* From the very exact plans in M. de Vogues Jerusalem, the full diameter 
of the drum of the Dome appears to be 23 metres, or 75^ feet. This gives a 
circumference of 237 feet, which agrees very well with the 120 cubits, 240 feet 
of the text. 

f The British Museum MS. and M. Schefer's text both give "six "as the 
number of piers in the outer circle, but this neither corresponds with what 
follows some lines below (where the total number of piers in the outer and 
inner circles is stated to be twelve, i.e., four //weight), nor with the actual 
condition of the Dome of the Rock, which apparently never had more than 
four piers in the inner, and eight in the outer circle, a number necessitated by 
the octagonal shape of the building. 


rising like the summit of a mountain. From the base of the 
Dome to its pinnacle measures 30 cubits, and this rises above the 
(octagonal) walls that are 20 ells high, for the Dome is supported 
on the pillars that are like in height to the outer walls ; and the 
whole building rises on a platform that itself is 12 ells high, so 
that from the level of the Court of the Noble Sanctuary to the 
summit of the Dome measures a total of 62 ells (or 124 feet).* 
The roofing and the ceiling of this edifice are both in woodwork ; 
this is set above the piers, and the pillars, and the walls, after a 
fashion not to be seen elsewhere. The Rock itself rises out of 
the floor to the height of a man, and a balustrade of marble goes 
round about it, in order that none may lay his hand thereon. 
The Rock inclines on the side that is towards the Kiblah (or 
south), and there is an appearance as though a person had walked 
heavily on the stone when it was soft like clay, whereby the 
imprint of his toes had remained thereon. There are on the 
Rock seven such footmarks, and I heard it stated that Abraham 
peace be upon him ! was once here with Isaac upon him be 
peace ! when he was a boy, and that he walked over this place, 
and that the footmarks were his. 

" In the house of the Dome of the Rock men are always con- 
gregated pilgrims and worshippers. The place is laid with fine 
carpets of silk and other stuffs. In the middle of the Dome, and 
over the Rock, there hangs from a silver chain a silver lamp ; and 
there are in other parts of the building great numbers of silver 
lamps, on each of which is inscribed its weight. These lamps are 
all the gift of the (Fatimite Khalif, who is) Sultan of Egypt ; and, 
according to the calculations I made, there must be here in silver 
utensils of various kinds of the weight of a thousand Manns (or 
about a ton and a half). I saw there a huge wax taper that was 
7 cubits high, and 3 spans in diameter. It was (white) like the 

* I note this as the principal passage for proving that Nasir-i-Khusrau uses 
the terms gez, " ell," and ars/i, " cubit," synonymously. On a previous page he 
has said that the platform is twelve arsh high ; here he says it measures twelve 
gez, and this added to twenty gez (walls) and to thirty arsh (dome) makes sixty- 
two gez. The height of the Dome of the Rock at the present day, measuring 
from floor to summit of dome, is, roughly, 112 feet. Nasir estimates it (deduct- 
ing the height of the platform) at 50 ells or cubits, equivalent to 100 feet. 


camphor of Zibfij,* and the (wax) was mixed with ambergris. 
They told me that the Sultan of Egypt sent hither every year a great 
number of tapers, and, among the rest, the large one just described, 
on which the name of the Sultan was written in golden letters. 

" As I have said before, all the roof and the exterior parts 
of the Dome of the Rock are covered with lead. At each of the 
four sides of the Dome of the Rock is set a great gate, with 
double folding-doors of Saj-wood (or teak). These doors are 
always kept closed. They say that on the night of his ascent into 
Heaven, the Prophet peace and benediction be upon him ! 
prayed first in the Dome of the Rock, laying his hand upon the 
Rock. And as he came forth, the Rock, to do him honour, rose 
up, but the Prophet peace and benediction be upon him ! laid 
his hand thereon to keep it in its place, and firmly fixed it there. 
But, by reason of this uprising, even to the present day, it is here 
partly detached (from the ground below). The Prophet the 
peace of Allah be upon him, and His benediction ! went on 
thence and came to the Dome, which is now called after him, and 
there he mounted (the steed) Burak ; and for this reason is that 
Dome venerated. Underneath the Rock is a large cavern, where 
they continually burn tapers; and they say that when the Rock 
moved in order to rise up (in honour of the Prophet), this space \ 
below was left void, and that when the Rock became fixed, itsoj 
remained, even as may now be seen." (N. Kh., 44-50.) 
Of the Rock itself, Nasir gives the following account : 
" This stone, of the Sakhrah, is that which God be He exalted 
and glorified ! commanded Moses to institute as the Kiblah 
(or direction to be faced at prayer). After this command had 
come down, and Moses had instituted the Sakhrah as the Kiblah ; 
he himself lived but a brief time, for of a sudden was his life 
cut short Then came the days of Solomon upon him be 
peace ! who, seeing that the Rock of the Sakhrah was the 
Kiblah-point, built a Mosque round about the Rock, whereby 
the Rock stood in the midst of the Mosque, which became 

* Xiluj, or Zabij, according to the author of the Marasid, is the name of the 
country in the further parts of India, on the frontiers of China, i.e., Cochin 
China (?). 



the oratory of the people. So it remained down to the days 
of our Prophet Muhammad, the Chosen One upon him be 
blessings and peace ! who likewise at first recognised this Rock to 
be the Kiblah, turning towards it at his prayers ; but God be He 
exalted and glorified ! afterwards (in the month Rajab of the 
second year of the Hijrah) commanded him to institute as the 
Kiblah the House of the Ka'abah (at Makkah)." (N. Kh., 27.) 

The Author of the Mutkir, writing in 1351, notes the occur- 
rence of what he deemed a remarkable event, which happened a 
few years after Nasir's visit. He writes :* 

" In the year 452 (A.D. 1060) the Great Lantern (Tannur) that 
hung in the Dome of the Rock fell down, and there were in 
this Lantern five hundred lamps. Those of the Muslims who 
were at Jerusalem augured therefrom, saying, ' Of a surety there 
will happen some portentous event in Islam.' " 

In 1099 the Crusaders took Jerusalem, and the Dome of 
the Rock, considered by them to be the Templum Domini, 
passed to the Knights Templar. Holding this building to be the 
veritable Temple of the Lord, its figure was emblazoned by the 
Knights on their armorial bearings, and in both plan and elevation 
the edifice came to be reproduced by the Templars in the various 
Temple Churches which the Order caused to be built in London, 
Laon, Metz, and other cities throughout Europe.. In Raphael's 
famous picture of the Sposalizio, preserved in the Brera Gallery at 
Milan, the Spousals of the Virgin are represented as taking place 
before the Gate of the Temple, which Temple is a fairly exact 
representation of the polygon of the Dome of the Rock. 

The Sicilian geographer Idrisi, in 1154, gives a short description 
of the Dome ; but he himself had never visited Palestine, and 
he most probably made up his account from descriptions dating 
from the beginning of the eleventh century. 

He writes : "In the centre of the (Court of the) Mosque rises 
the mighty Dome, known as the Kubbat as Sakhrah (the Dome of 

* The Arabic text is given in my paper in the Joiirnal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society, New Series, vol. xix., p. 304. This paragraph is copied verbatim by 
Suyuti (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. '/., p. 287), and also by 
Mujir ad Din (Cairo Text, p. 270). The Chronicles, it may be noted, mention 
no earthquake as occurring in this year. 


the Rock). This Dome is overlaid with gold mosaic, and is 
of most beautiful workmanship, erected by the Muslim Khalifs. 
In its midst is the Rock (the Sakhrah), which is said to have 
fallen down (from heaven). It is a mass of stone of the height of 
the Platform, and occupies the centre under the Dome. The 
extremity of one of its sides rises above the floor to half a man's 
height or more, while the other side lies even with the level (of 
the Platform). The length of the Rock is nearly equal to its 
breadth, and is some 10 ells and odd by the like. You may 
descend into the lower part thereof, and go down into a dark 
chamber, like a cellar, the length of which is 10 ells, by 5 in 
width, and the ceiling reaches above a man's height. No one can 
enter this chamber except with a lamp to light him. The Dome 
(of the Rock) has four Gates. The Western Gate has opposite 
to it an Altar, whereon the Children of Israel were wont to offer 
up their sacrifices. Near the Eastern Gate of the Dome is 
the Church, which is called the Holy of Holies it is of an 
admirable size. Opposite to the Northern Gate (of the Dome of 
the Rock) is a beautiful Garden, planted with all sorts of trees, and 
round this Garden is set a colonnade of marble of most wondrous 
workmanship. In the further part of this Garden is a place 
of assembly, where the priests and deacons are wont to take their 
repasts." (Id., 7.) 

This Garden of the Priests, mentioned also by 'Alt of Herat 
(see p. 133), is, doubtless, the House of the Augustinian Canons 
established here by Godfrey de Bouillon. Perhaps this may have 
occupied the site of the " Cloister of the Sufis " mentioned by 
Nasir-i-Khusrau in 1047 (see Chapter V., Gates of the Haram 
Area). The Church of the Holy of Holies is the building the 
Muslims call the Dome of the Chain, of which a description will 
be given in the following chapter. The Altar of the Children of 
Israel is apparently of Christian invention, and corresponds to no 
Muslim edifice ; it is mentioned in the Citez de Jherusalem* (about 
1225), and by other Christian writers, one of whom states that the 
Saracens ultimately turned it into a sundial. 

'AH of Herat, who visited the Holy City in 1173, fifteen years 

* Palestine Pilgrims' Text, p. 37. 



before it was retaken by Saladin, has left us a full description of 
what he saw in the Dome of the Rock. He notes the iron railing 
put round the Rock by the Crusaders in place of the marble 
balustrade mentioned by Nasir-i-Khusrau. Portions of this iron 
"grille" still exist, and an illustration depicting it will be found in 
M. de Vogue's Jerusalem. The chamber under the Rock 'Ali 
calls " The Cave of the Souls." The present tradition asserts 
that the Bir al Arwah, " The Well of the Souls," is not this 
chamber, but a well hollowed in the rock below its pavement. 
'Ali's description of the Dome represents exactly what is seen at 
the present day, the detail of the arrangement and number of the 
piers and columns, in the inner and outer circle, supporting the 
Dome, as given in his text, being identical with what is shown in the 
present plan. The earlier accounts, it will be remembered, varied 
on these points of detail. When the alteration occurred is 
unknown. The ell with which 'Ali of Herat takes his measure- 
ments is presumably the royal ell of 18 inches, or somewhat less. 

'Ali of Herat writes : " The Kubbat as Sakhrah (meaning the 
Rock under the Dome) has upon it the (imprint of) the footmark 
of the Prophet. Now I went and saw the Rock in the days of the 
Frank dominion, and what was to be seen of it then lay in the 
north part of the Dome only. Round it was a railing of iron. 
At the present time, since Saladin's reconquest of the Holy City, 
the Rock appears to the south also, under the Dome. There 
is all around, below it, a border, which is covered with enamelled- 
work. The Rock is here a span in breadth, and its height is 
of 2 ells. Its circumference is over 4 ells. Underneath the Rook 
is the Cave of the Souls (Mugharat al Arwah}. They say that 
Allah will bring together the souls of all True Believers to this 
spot. You descend to this Cave by some fourteen steps, and 
they state that the grave of Zakariyyah peace be upon him ! is 
here in this Cave. The Cave of the Souls is of the height of 
a man. Its width extends n paces from east to west, and 13 
paces from north to south. In its roof is an aperture towards the 
east, the size of which is an ell and a half across. The circum- 
ference of the Cavern is 5 ells. The building of the Dome of the 
Rock has four doors, and I visited the place in the year 569 (1173), 


during the time of the Frank dominion, as before stated. Opposite 
the door leading to the Cave of the Souls, and near to the iron 
railing, was, in these days, a picture of Solomon, son of David. 
Also near to the iron railing, and to the west of the Leaden Gate, 
but above it, was the picture of the Messiah all studded over with 

" The Gate (of the Dome of the Rock) to the east opens 
towards the Dome of the Chain. Above it is an arch, on which 
is inscribed the name of the Khalif Al Kaim-bi-Amr-Illah, and 
the chapter (cxii., of the Kuran), called Ikhlas that is, 'Sincerity.' 
To the east of the Dome of the Rock is, as aforesaid, the Dome 
of the Chain ; it is here Solomon, the son of David, administered 
justice. To the north of the Dome of the Rock was the House 
of the Priests (Dar al Kusas), which building is supported on 
columns. * The (octagonal) Colonnade round the Dome of the 
Rock is supported on sixteen columns of marble, and on eight 
piers ; and the Dome within this is supported on four piers and 
twelve columns. In the circumference (of the Drum) are sixteen 
grated windows. The circumference of the Dome is 160 ells 
(240 feet). The perimeter of the great edifice which comprehends 
all these (pillars, and the Dome, and which is the octagonal 
building), measures 400 ells minus 16 ells (384 ells, or 576 feet). 
A line going round the whole building (of the Dome of the Rock), 
and including the Dome of the Chain and what pertains thereto 
of other buildings, would measure 482 ells (or 723 feet). The 
height of -the iron grating which surrounds the Rock is twice that 
of a man. There are four iron gates to the Dome of the Rock 
one (north) towards the Bab ar Rahmah (Gate of Mercy, 
the ancient Golden Gate) ; one (west) towards the Bab Jibrail ; 
one towards the Kiblah (south) ; and one (east) towards the 
Dome of the Chain. The Dome of the Chain measures 60 paces 
round." (A. H., Oxf. MSS., ff. 35-38.) 

In 1187 Jerusalem was retaken by Saladin, who, as has been 
described above (p. 109), effected a complete restoration of the 
Haram Area to its pristine condition. Of the state into which 
the Rock had come through the zeal of the Franks for the 

* See p. 131. 


acquisition of relics, the Chronicle of Ibn al Athir gives the 
following account under the year 583 A.H. Possibly the " border " 
described by 'Ali of Herat as running all round the Rock (see 
above, p. 132) is the covering of pavement which Saladin ordered 
to be removed. 

Ibn al Athir writes : " Now the Franks had covered the Rock 
with a marble pavement, and this Saladin ordered to be removed. 
And the reason whereby they had thus covered it with a pave- 
ment was this : In the earlier times their priests had been used to 
(break off and) sell pieces of the Rock to the Frank (pilgrims) 
who came from beyond the sea on pilgrimage ; for these would 
buy the same for its weight in gold, believing that there lay therein 
a blessing. But seeing this, certain of the (Latin) kings, fearing 
lest the Rock should all disappear, ordered that it should be paved 
over to keep it safe." (Ibn al Athir, ix. 365.) 

After Saladin had completed his restoration, he set up inside 
the cupola of the Dome, above the Rock, a beautiful inscription 
in tile-work on a series of bands and medallions, which may still 
be seen in situ. The Arabic text of this long inscription, of which 
the following is a translation, will be found in M. de Vogue's 
work,* so often referred to. The text does not run continuously ; 
but the following numbers (referring to the paragraphs of the 
translation) show the order in which the bands and medallions 
running, of course, from right to left, following the Arabic writing 
stand each to the other inside the Drum below the cupola. 
Besides Saladin's inscription, there are also two others, set up at a 
much later date, in the spaces at first left vacant. 

13. 12. 7. ii. 6. 10. 5. 9. 16. 8. 4. 3. 15. 2. 14. i. 

1. " In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful, hath 

commanded the renewal of the gilding of this 

2. Noble Dome, our Master the Sultan, the victorious King, 

3. the sage, the just Salah ad Dm Yiisuf, 

4. In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful 

5. . . . in the latter third of the month Rajab of the year 585, 

6. by the hand of God's poor servitor Salah ad Dm 

7. Yusuf ibn Ay y lib ib?i Shddi, may Allah encompass him in His 

mercy r 

* Le Temple de Jerusalem, pp. 91, 92. 


It will be convenient to add here the translations of the two 
other inscriptions, which are found on the bands and medallions, 
interspersed with Saladin's great inscription. The first of these 
commemorates the restoration by order of the Mamluk Sultan 
of Egypt, Muhammad ibn Kala'un, in A.H. 718 and 719 (1318 and 
1319). The second was set up in our own days by the Sultan of 
Turkey, Mahmud II. The tiles containing the date of this last 
inscription have been injured, and only the centuries (12** A.H.) 
can be read. Sultan Mahmud II. reigned from A.H. 1223 1255 

8. "Hath commanded the renewal of the gilding of this Dome, 

together with the restoration of the outer Dome of lead 

9. Our Master . . . Aasir ad Dunya wa ad Din, 

10, the Sultan of the world, who stablisheth the pillars of the 

noble Law, 

1 1. the Suftan of Islam, Muhammad the son of the Sultan and 


\ 2. Al Malik Al Mansiir Kalciun, may Allah encompass him 
in His mercy ! And this (restoration took place) during 
the months of the year 718 

13. And it was done under the superintendence of the poor 

servitor of Allah be He exalted ! the assiduous, noble 

14. and illustrious fawali, Inspector of the Two Noble 


15. May Allah give him pardon ! And this in the year 719 " 

16. " Hath commanded the gilding of this Dome, and the restora- 

tion of the external Dome, our Master the Sultan Mahmud 
Khan. In the year 12**" 

The traveller Ibn Batutah, who visited Jerusalem in the year 
1355, gives but few new details of the Dome of the Rock. He 
expatiates on the marvellous beauty of the building, and notes the 
four great gates and the interior of the Dome, ornamented with 
gilding and colours. After describing the Rock, and mentioning 
the cavern below it, he continues, " Round the rock there are two 
gratings set here to guard it. Of these the one nearest the Rock 


is of iron, the other of wood. In the Dome there is hung up a 
great Buckler of iron, and the people say this was the Buckler of 
Hamzah ibn 'Abd al Mutallib (the uncle of the Prophet)." (I. B., 
i. 122, 123.) 

Mujir ad Din states that, in the year 1448 (851), the roof of the 
Dome of the Rock was destroyed by fire, and was restored by 
Sultan al Malik adh Dhahir, " so as to be more beautiful even 
than it had been aforetimes." (M. a. D., 443.) The cause of 
the fire is said by some authorities to have been a thunderbolt, 
which fell in the southern part of the edifice. Others state that 
the building was set on fire by a boy, who had gone under the 
roof with a candle to catch some pigeons. 

Suyuti, writing in 1470, gives the following account of the 
Rock, and the wonders shown in its vicinity : " The Footprint 
seen here is that of the Prophet when he mounted the steed 
Al Burak to ascend into heaven. In Crusading times it was called 
Christ's Footprint. The Tongue is said to have been given to 
the Rock when it addressed the Khalif 'Omar in welcome ; and 
the Marks of the angel Gabriel's Fingers are those left when the 
Rock, wishing to accompany the Prophet to heaven, had to be 
pushed down and kept in its place. 

" The place of the Noble Footprint may be seen at this day on 
a stone that is separate from the Rock, and opposite to it, on the 
further side, which is to the south-west. This stone is supported 
on a column. The Rock, at this present day, forms the walls 
enclosing the cave (that is, beneath it) on all sides, except only the 
part which lies to the south, where is the opening into the Cave. 
The Rock here does not come up to the south side of the Cave, 
for between the two is an open space. From the entrance down 
into the Cave lead stone steps for descending thereto. On these 
stairs is a small shelf, near where the pilgrims stop to visit the 
Tongue of the Rock. At this spot is a marble column, the lower 
part of which rests on the south portion of the shelf aforesaid, 
while its upper part abuts against the Rock, as though to prevent 
its giving way towards the south or maybe it is for some other 
purpose and the portion of the Rock that lies below supports it. 
The Place of the Angel's Fingers is on the western side of the 


Rock, and is distinct from the Place of the Noble Footstep already 
mentioned. It lies close to, and over against, the western gate of 
the Sakhrah (or Dome of the Rock)." (S., 258; copied by 
M. a. D, 371.) 

All these various marvels are shown in the Dome of the Rock 
at the present day, and occupy the same positions as they did in 
1470 when Suvuti wrote. 

In conclusion, the following measurements are of some interest. 
They are given by Mujir ad Din, and appear to have been care- 
fully taken by him at the time when he wrote his description of 
Jerusalem in 1496. The "workman's ell," as before stated, 
measures somewhat over 2j feet. 

" The building of the Dome of the Rock is octagonal. The 
outer perimeter is 240 ells, while the inner is 224 ells, measuring 
with the workman's ell. 

"The Dome is 51 ells high, measured from the pavement to 
the summit. The Platform, on which the Dome of the Rock 
stands, is 7 ells above the level of the Court ; thus the summit of 
the Dome is 58 ells above the Area of the Noble Sanctuary. The 
Dome is supported by twelve pillars and by four piers (in the 
inner ring)/' (M. a. D., 370, 371.) 



Traditional Accounts : 'Omar's finding of the Rock The Service instituted by 
the Khalif 'Abd al Malik. 

The Dome of the Chain: Minor domes The platform and stairways 
The Court and the Haram Area The Cradle of Jesus and Stables of 
Solomon Minor buildings Minarets. 


IN the preceding chapter, the history of the Dome of the Rock 
and the Aksa Mosque has been recounted from the earliest avail- 
able Arab sources, namely, the Chronicles and Geographies (dating 
from the third and fourth centuries of the Hijrah), and the 
accounts of the first Muslim pilgrims, who described their visits to 
Jerusalem. With the foregoing it will be found interesting to 
compare the traditional accounts (apocryphal in detail, and pro- 
bably first reduced to writing at a period subsequent to the 
Crusades), which profess to give detailed notices of the Khalif 
'Omar's re-discovery of the Rock, and of the services instituted by 
the Khalif 'Abd al Malik after he had erected the Dome over it. 
These accounts, as far as I have been able to discover, are first 
given in the work called the Muthir al Ghiram (see p. n), which 
was composed in 1351 (752), close on seven hundred years after the 
days of 'Abd al Malik, and considerably over the seven centuries 
after the date of 'Omar. The author of the Muthir wrote in the 
period succeeding the Crusades, when the Franks had recently 
been ejected from the Holy Land ; and at this date, what may be 
called Historical Romances (as, for instance, the " History " of the 
Pseudo-Wakidi, and others), were much in vogue throughout the 
countries that Saladin and his successors had so recently liberated 


from the Frank dominion. The reconquest of Palestine by 
Saladin, recalled the incidents of the first Muslim conquest under 
'Omar ; and possibly there were still, in the fourteenth century, 
some historical traditions which may have formed the groundwork 
on which the following narratives were composed. 

There is, as will be observed, in the Muthir, a learned affecta- 
tion of citing authorities, giving the account as on the authority of 
so-and-so, who had it from his father, and his grandfather, who 
heard so-and-so relate, etc., etc. This, however, is merely the 
usual Arab way of citing the tradition, and in the present case 
practically means nothing, since no authority can be found for 
these stories earlier than the author of the Muthir himself. These 
accounts, as given in the Muthir, have been freely plagiarised by 
succeeding writers. Shams ad Din Suyuti (1470) quoted from the 
Muthir verbatim, and Mujirad Din, in 1496, copied out the whole 
once again, adding here and there some few amplifications.* In 
the following pages the order of the paragraphs in the Muthir is 
not kept to, the narrative in my translation being arranged to suit 
the sequence of events. 

'Omar's Conquest. (Muthir, chapter v.f) " Al Walid % states / 
on the authority of Sa'id ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz, that the letter of 
the Prophet had come to the Kaisar (Caesar) while he was sojourn- 
ing at the Holy City. Now at that time there was over the 
Rock of the Holy City a "great dungheajp" Which completely 
masked the MihralToTDavid, and which same the Christians had 
put here in order to offend the Jews, and further, even, the 
Christian women were wont to throw here their cloths and clouts, 
so "Ehaf Ft was all heaped up therewith. Now, when Caesar had 

* The Arabic text, taken from the Paris MSS. of the Mttthtr, of which the 
following is a translation, is printed in my paper on Suyuti in the Journal of the 
Royal Asiatic Society, vol. xix., part ii., where the whole subject of the MutMr's 
authorities will be found discussed at length. 

t Quoted by S., 278. 

Al Walid ibn Muslim, on whose authority most of these accounts rest, was 
a celebrated traditionist, a native of Damascus, and died aged seventy-three 
(according to Nawawi, Wiistenfeld's Text, p. 618) in A.H. 194 or 195 (810). 

In the seventh year of the Hijrah, the Prophet despatched envoys to the 
Chosroes (Khusrii Parvviz) of Persia, and to the Caesar of Byzantium, calling 
on them forthwith to acknowledge his mission as Allah's Apostle. 


perused the letter of the Prophet, he cried and said : ' O, ye men 
of Greece, verily ye are the people who shall be slain on this dung- 
heap, because that ye have desecrated the sanctity of this Mosque. 
And it shall be with you even as it was with the Children of Israel, 
who were slain for reason of the blood of Yahya ibn Zakariyya 
(John the Baptist).' Then the Caesar commanded them to clear 
the place, and so they began to do ; but when the Muslims in- 
vaded Syria, only a third part thereof had been cleared. NQJK. 
when 'Omar hail conic to the Holy City and conquered it, and 
saw how there was a dungheap over the Rock, he regarded it as 
horrible, and ordered that it should be entirely cleared. And to 
accomplish this they forced the Nabathaeans of Palestine to labour 
without pay. On the authority of Jabir ibn Nafir, it is related 
that when 'Omar first exposed the Rock to view by removing the 
dungheap, he commanded them not to pray there until three 
showers of heavy rain should have fallen." 

" It is related as coming from Shadad ibn Aus, who accompanied 
'Omar when he entered the noble Sanctuary of the Holy City on 
the day when Allah caused it to be reduced by capitulation, that 
'Omar entered by the Gate of Muhammad, crawling on his hands 
and knees, he and all those who were with him, until he came up 
to the Court (of the Sanctuary). There he looked around to right 
and to left, and, glorifying Allah, said : ' By Allah, verily this by 
Him in whose hand is my soul ! must be the Mosque of David, 
of which the Apostle spake to us, saying, / was conducted thither 
in the night journey.'' Then 'Omar advanced to the fore (or 
southern) part of the Haram Area, and to the western side 
thereof, and he said : ' Let us make this the place for the 

* With this and the following accounts of 'Omar's first visit to the Temple 
Area, accompanied by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, it will be interesting to 
compare the narrative of the Byzantine historian Theophanes, who wrote his 
Chronographia in the eighth century A.D. (see note to p. 92), more than five 
hundred years, therefore, before the author of the Muthir, who is our sole 
authority for the Muslim tradition. The Greek original, of which the following 
is a translation, will be found in vol. i., p. 519 of the Bonn edition (1839) of 
the Chronographia. "Anno Mundi 6127; Anno Domini 627. In this year 
Omar undertook his expedition into Palestine, where, the Holy City having 
been continuously besieged for two years (by the Arab armies), he at length 


" On the authority of Al Walid ibn Muslim, it is reported as 
coming from a Shaikh of the sons of Shadad ibn Aus, who had 
heard it from his father, who held it of his grandfather, that 
'Omar, as soon as he was at leisure from the writing of the Treaty 
of Capitulation made between him and the people of the Holy 
City, said to the Patriarch of Jerusalem : * Conduct us to the 
Mosque of David.' And the Patriarch agreed thereto. Then i 
'Omar went forth girt with his sword, and with him four thousand 
of the Companions who had come to Jerusalem with him, all 
begirt likewise with their swords, and a crowd of us Arabs, who 
had come up to the Holy City, followed them, none of us bearing 
any weapons except our swords. And the Patriarch walked before 
'Omar among the Companions, and we all came behind th$ 
Khalif. Thus we entered the Holy City. And the Patriarch 
took us to the Church which goes by the name of the Kumamah,* 
and said he : ' This is David's Mosque.' And 'Omar looked 
around and pondered, then he answered the Patriarch : * Thou 
liest, for the Apostle described to me the Mosque of David, and 
by his description this is not it.' Then the Patriarch went on 
with us to the Church of Sihyun (Sion), and again he said : * This 
is the Mosque of David.' But the Khalif replied to him : ' Thou 
liest.' So the Patriarch went on with him till he came to the 
noble Sanctuary of the Holy City, and reached the gate thereof, 
called (afterwards) the Gate Muhammad. Now the dung which 
was then all about the noble Sanctuary, had settled on the steps 
of this gate, so that it even came out into the street in which the 
gate opened, and it had accumulated so greatly on the steps as 

became possessed of it by capitulation. Sophronius, the chief (or Patriarch) 
of Jerusalem, obtained from Omar a treaty in favour of all the inhabitants of 
Palestine, after which Omar entered the Holy City clothed in camel-hair 
garments all soiled and torn, and making show of piety as a cloak for his 
diabolical hypocrisy, demanded to be taken to what in former times had been 
the Temple built by Solomon. This he straightway converted into an oratory 
for blasphemy and impiety. When Sophronius saw this he exclaimed : ' Verily, 
this is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, and it 
now stands in the Holy Place ;' and (the Patriarch) shed many tears." 

* Al Kumamah literally, " the dunghill." This is a designed corruption on 
the part of the Muslims of " Al Kayamah," Anastasis, the name given to the 
Church of the Resurrection (the Holy Sepulchre) by the Christian Arabs. 


almost to reach up to the ceiling of the gateway. The Patriarch 
said to 'Omar : * It is impossible to proceed and enter except 
crawling on hands and knees.' Said 'Omar : ' Even on hands and 
knees be it.' So the Patriarch went down on hands and knees, 
preceding 'Omar, and we all crawled after him, until he had 
brought us out into the Court of the Noble Sanctuary of the Holy 
City. Then we arose off our knees, and stood upright. And 
'Omar looked around, pondering for a long time. Then said he : 
* By Him in whose hands is my soul ! this is the place described 
to us by the Apostle of Allah.' " (S., 276 ; M. a. D., 226.) 

"And it is reported on other authority to the last, namely, from 
Hisham ibn 'Ammar, who had it from Al Haitham ibn 'Omar ibn 
al 'Abbasi, who related that he had heard his grandfather, 'Abd 
Allah ibn Abu 'Abd Allah, tell how, when 'Omar was Khalif, he 
went to visit the people of Syria. 'Omar halted first at the village 
of Al Jabiyah,* while he despatched a man of the Jadilah Tribe 
to the Holy City, and, shortly after, 'Omar became possessed 
of Jerusalem by capitulation. Then the Khalif himself went 
thither, and Ka'ab t was with him. Said 'Omar to Ka'ab : ' O, 
Abu Ishak, knowest thou the position of the Rock ?' and Ka'ab 
answered : ' Measure from the wall which is on the Wadi Jahan- 
num so and so many ells ; there dig, and ye shall discover it :' 
adding : ' At this present day it is a dungheap.' So they dug 
there, and the Rock was laid bare. Then said 'Omar to Ka'ab : 
'Where sayest thou we should place the Mosque, or, rather, the 
Kiblah ?' Ka'ab replied : ' Lay out a place for it behind the 
Rock, whereby you will make one the two Kiblahs, that, namely, 
of Moses, and that of Muhammad.' But 'Omar answered 

* In Jaulan. 

f The author of the Muthir writes in another section : " Ka'ab al Abhar, 
or Al Hibr, surnamed Abu Ishak ibn Mani the Himyarite, was originally a 
Jew, and became a Muslim during the Khalifate of Abu Bakr or, some say, 
during that of 'Omar. He is a celebrated authority for Traditions, and is 
noted as having been a very learned man. He died at Himsin A.H. 32 (652)." 
In point of fact, Ka'ab, like his co-religionist, the equally celebrated Jew 
Wahb ibn Munabbih, who also embraced Islam (the two being the great 
authorities among the early Muslims in all points of ancient history), was in 
time discovered to have been a great liar, and to have considerably gulled the 
simple-minded Arabs of the first century of the Flight. 


' Thou hast leanings still towards the Jews, O Abu Ishak. The 
Mosque shall be in front of the Rock (not behind it).' Thus was 
the Mosque erected in the fore-part of the Haram Area." 

" Al Walid further relates, as coming from Kulthum ibn Ziyad, 
that 'Omar asked of Ka'ab : ' Where thinkest thou that we should 
put the place of prayer for Muslims in this Holy Sanctuary ?' 
Said Ka'ab in answer : * In the hinder (or northern) portion 
thereof, in the part adjoining the Gate of the Tribes.' But 'Omar 
said : ' Not so ; seeing that, on the contrary, to us belongs the 
fore-part of the Sanctuary.' And 'Omar then proceeded to the 
fore-part thereof. Al Walid again relates on the authority of Ibn 
Shaddad, who had it of his father * 'Omar proceeded to the fore- 
part of the Sanctuary Area, to the side adjoining the west (namely 
to the south-west part), and there began to throw the dung by 
handfuls into his cloak, and we all who were with him did like- 
wise. Then he went with it and we following him to do the 
same and threw the dung into the Wadi, which is called the 
\\Tuli Jahannum. Then we returned to do the like over again, 
and yet again he, 'Omar, and also we who were with him until 
we had cleared the whole of the place where the Mosque now 
stands. And there we all made our prayers, 'Omar himself praying 
among us." ' 

Some other versions are also given of the same traditions, iden- 
tical in every point except for the pseudo-authority quoted, and 
the wording of the narrative. (See S., 32 ; copied by M. a. D., 225.) 
The following is given by Suyuti only (not by the author of the 
Muthlr\ and is curious for the mention of the St. Mary Church 
(Kan'isah Mary am) possibly the Church of the Virgin described by 

" Now, when 'Omar made the capitulation with the people of 
the Holy City, and entered among them, he was wearing at that 
time two long tunics of the kind called Sumbulani. Then he 
prayed in the Church of Mary, and, when he had done so, he 
spat on one of his tunics. And it was said to him : ' Dost thou 
spit here because that this is a place in which the sin of polytheism 
has been committed ?' And 'Omar answered : ' Yea, verily the 
sin of polytheism hath been committed herein ; but now r , in truth, 


the name of Allah hath been pronounced here.' It is further 
reported that 'Omar did carefully avoid praying near the Wadi 
Jahannum." (S., 34.) 

'Abd al Malik and the Dome of the Rock, (MutMr, chapter vi.*) 
"The Khalif 'Abd al Malik it was who built the Dome of the 
Rock, and the (Aksa) Mosque of the Holy City ; and, according 
to report, he devoted to the expenses of the same the revenues of 
Egypt for the space of seven years. The historian Sibt al Jauzi, 
in his work called the ' Mirror of the Time ' (Mirat as Zamdn), 
states that 'Abd al Malik began the building here in the year 69 
of the Hijrah, and completed the same in the year 72 (A.D. 687 
690). But others say that he who first built the Dome (of the 
Rock) of the Holy City was Sa'id, the son of the Khalif 'Abd al 
Malik, and that he afterwards, too, restored it.f Now, on the 
authority of Rija ibn Hayah, and of Yazid ibn Sallam,J 'Abd al 
Malik's freedman, it is reported that, on the occasion of building 
the Dome of the Rock of the Holy City and the Aksa Mosque, 
the Khalif came himself from Damascus to Jerusalem, and thence 
despatched letters into all the provinces, and to all the governors 
of cities, to the following effect : ' 'Abd al Malik doth wish to 
build a Dome over the Rock in the Holy City, whereby to shelter 
the Muslims from heat and cold ; as also a Mosque. But he 
wisheth not to do this thing without knowing the will of his 
people. Therefore, let the Muslims write their desires, and what- 
soever may be their will.' And letters came back to him from the 
governors of the provinces which assured the Commander of the 
Faithful of the full approval of all men, and that they deemed his 
intention a fitting and pious one. And said they : * We ask of 
Allah to vouchsafe completion to what the Khalif doth undertake, 
in the matter of building in the Noble Sanctuary, and the Dome 
therein, and the Mosque ; and may it succeed under his hand, for 

* Quoted by S., p. 280. 

f This assertion is found in none of the early authorities. 

Abu'l Mikdam Hija ibn Hayah ibn Jarul, of the Kindah tribe, was a man 
celebrated for his learning, and in later years a great friend of the second 
Khalif 'Omar (Ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz). Yazid ibn Sallam. his colleague, was a native 
of Jerusalem. The account following is transcribed by Mujir ad Din. Cairo 
Text, pp. 241, 242. 


it is a noble deed, both for him and for those who follow after 

" Then the Khalif brought together craftsmen from all parts of 
his empire, and commanded that they should set forth the propor- 
tions and elevation of the building before they began to build the 
Dome itself. So they laid out the plan thereof in the Court of 
the Haram Area. And he commanded them to build a Treasure 
House on the east side of the Rock, and the same is the building 
which now stands close beside the Rock.* So they began to 
build. And the Khalif set apart great sums of money, and 
instituted to be overseers thereof Rija ibn Hayah, and Yazid ibn 
Sallam, commanding them to spend the same, and giving them 
authority therein. So they made expenditure for digging the 
foundations, and building up the structure, until (all was finished 
and) the moneys were (in large part) expended. When the edifice 
was complete and solidly constructed, so that not a word could 
be said for improvement thereto, these men wrote to the Khalif 
at Damascus, saying : * Allah hath vouchsafed completion to what 
the Commander of the Faithful commanded concerning the build- 
ing of the Dome over the Rock of the Holy City, and the Aksa 
Mosque also. And no word can be said to suggest improvement 
thereto. And verily there remaineth over and above of what the 
Commander of the Faithful did set apart for the expense of the 
same the building being now complete and solidly built a sum 
of 100,000 (gold) dinars. So now let the Commander of the 
Faithful expend the remnant in whatever matter seemeth good to 
him.' And the Khalif wrote to them in reply : ' Let this, then, 
be a gift unto you two for what ye have accomplished in the 
building of this noble and blessed house.' But to this Rija and 
Yazid sent answer : ' Nay, rather, first let us add to this the 
ornaments of our women and the superfluity of our wealth, and 
then do thou, O Khalif, expend the whole in what seemeth best 
to thee.' Then the Khalif wrote commanding them to melt down 
the gold, and apply it to the adornment of the Dome. So all this 
gold was melted down and expended to adorn the Dome of the 
Rock ; to an extent that it was impossible, by reason of the 

* Now called the Dome of the Chain. See p. 153. 



gold thereon, for anyone to keep the eye fixed and look at it. 
They prepared also two coverings, to go over the Dome, of felts 
and of skins of animals, and the same were put over it in the 
winter-time to preserve it from the rains, and the winds, and the 
snows. Rija ibn Hayah and Yazid ibn Sallam also surrounded the 
Rock with a lattice-screen of Sasim (or ebony-wood), and out- 
side the screen they hung between the columns curtains of 

' Each day fifty and two persons were employed to pound and 
grind down saffron, working by night also, and leavening it with 
musk and ambergris, and rose-water of the Juri rose. At early 
dawn the servants appointed entered the Bath of Sulaiman* ibn 
'Abd al Malik, where they washed and purified themselves before 
proceeding to the Treasure Chamber (al Khazanah), in which was 
kept the (yellow perfume of saffron called) Khuhlk. And, before 
leaving the Treasure Chamber, they changed all their clothes, 
putting on new garments, made of the stuffs of Marv and Herat, 
also shawls (of the striped cloths of Yaman), called 'Asb ; and, 
taking jewelled girdles, they girt these about their waists. Then, 
bearing the jars of the Khuluk in their hands, they went forth and 
anointed therewith the stone of the Rock, even as far as they 
could reach up to with their hands, spreading the perfume all over 
the same. -And for the part beyond that which they could reach, 
having first washed their feet, they attained thereto by walking on 
the Rock itself, anointing all that remained thereof; and by this 
the jars of the Khuluk were completely emptied. Then they 
brought censers of gold and of silver, filled with aloes wood of 
Kimar (in Java\ and the incense called Nadd, compounded with 
musk and ambergris ; and, letting down the curtains between the 
columns, they swung to and fro the censers, until the incense 
did rise into all the space between the columns and the Dome 
above, by reason of the quantity thereof. Which done, and the 

* The MSS. of Suyftti read " Hammam Sulaiman," as though it were the 
Bath of King Soloman. I have found no notice of this bath elsewhere ; and 
it is on the authority of the Muthtr that the Bath is named after the son of the 
Khalif 'Abd al Malik. The Jiiri rose is named from the town of Jur or Gvir, in 
Persia, afterwards called Fairuzabacl. which was so celebrated for its roses as to 
be surnamed Balad al Ward, "the City of Roses." (Yakut, ii. 147.) 


curtains again drawn up, the censers were carried outside the 
building, whereby the sweet smell went abroad, even to the 
entrance of the market beyond (the Haram Area), so that all who 
passed therein could scent the perfume. After this the censers 
were extinguished Proclamation then was made by criers from 
before the screen : ' The Sakhrah, verily, is open for the people, 
and he who would pray therein, let him come.' And the people 
would hasten to come and make their prayer in the Sakhrah, the 
most of them performing two Rika'ahs (or prayer prostrations), 
while some few acquitted themselves of four. And he who had 
thus said his prayers, when he had gone forth again, (friends) 
would perceive on him the perfume of the incense, and say : 
' Such an one hath been in the Sakhrah.' (After the prayer-time 
was over, the servants) washed off with water the marks left by 
the peoples' feet, cleaning everywhere with green myrtle (brooms), 
and drying with cloths. Then the gates were closed, and for 
guarding each were appointed ten chamberlains, since none might 
enter the Sakhrah except the servants thereof on other days 
than the Monday and the Friday. 

"On the authority of Abu Bakr ibn al Harith, it is reported 
that, during the Khalifate of 'Abd al Malik, the Sakhrah was 
entirely lighted with (oil of) the Midian Ban (the Tamarisk, or 
Myrobalan) tree, and oil of Jasmin, of a lead colour. (And this, 
says Abu Bakr, was of so sweet a perfume, that) the chamberlains 
were wont to say to him : * O Abu Bakr, pass us the lamps that 
we may put oil on ourselves therefrom, and perfume our clothes ' ; 
and so he used to do, to gratify them. Such are the matters 
relating to the days of the Khalifate of 'Abd al Malik. 

" Further, saith Al Walid, it hath been related to me by 'Abd 
ar Rahman ibn Mansur ibn Thabit who said, I hold it of my 
father, who held it of his father, and he from his grandfather 
that, in the days of 'Abd al Malik, there was suspended from the 
chain hanging down in the middle of the Dome of the Rock a 
single unique pearl, also the two horns of the Ram of Abraham, 
and the Crown of the Chosroes. But when the Khalifate passed 
to the Abbasides, they had all these relics transported to the 
Ka'abah which may Allah preserve !" 

TO 2 


The following, which occurs in the seventh chapter of the 
Muttur, is quoted both by Suyuti and by Mujir ad Din. (S., 285; 
M. a. D., 248.) A somewhat similar account will be found below 
(p. 161), on the much earlier authority of Ibn al Fakih. 

" On the authority of the Hafidh Ibn 'Asakir, the testimony 
going back to Abu-1-Ma'ali al Mukaddasi, it is related how ; Abd 
al Malik built the Dome of the Rock and the Aksa Mosque. 
Further, 'Ukbah states that in those days there were six thousand 
beams of wood used for the ceilings, besides the beams for 
the wooden pillars ; and the doors were fifty in number. There 
were six hundred pillars of marble, and seven Mihrabs, and of 
chains for suspending the candelabra four hundred, less fifteen 
(that is three hundred and eighty-five), of which two hundred and 
thirty were in the Aksa Mosque, and the remainder (namely, one 
hundred and fifty-five) in the Dome of the Rock. The length of 
all these chains put together was 4,000 ells, and their weight 
43,000 Syrian (pounds or) ratls.* There were five thousand 
lamps ; and, in addition to these, they were wont to light two 
thousand wax candles on the Friday nights, and on the middle 
nights of the months of Rajab, Sha'aban, and Ramadhan, as also 
on the nights of the Two (Great) Festivals. (In the various parts 
of the Haram Area) are fifteen (small) domes, besides the (Great) 
Dome of the Rock ; and on the Mosque-roof there were seven 
thousand seven hundred sheets of lead, each sheet weighing 70 
ratls, Syrian measure (420 Ibs.). And this did not include what 
was on the roof which covered the Dome of the Rock. All this 
was of that which was done in the days of 'Abd al Malik. And 
this Khalif appointed for the perpetual service of the Noble 
Sanctuary three hundred servants, who were (slaves) purchased 
with moneys of the Royal Fifth from the Treasury ; and as these 
servants in time died off, each man's son, or his son's son, or 
some member of his family, was appointed in his place. And so 
the service hath continued on for all time, generation after genera- 
tion ; and they receive their rations from the public treasury. 

" In the Haram Area there are twenty-four great water cisterns, 
and of minarets four to wit, three in a line on the west side of 

* 258,000 Ibs. 


the Noble Sanctuary, and one that rises above the Bab al Asbat 
(the (late of the Tribes). And among the servants of the Haram 
there were Jews, from whom was exacted no poll-tax. Originally 
there were but ten men, but, their families increasing, the number 
rose to twenty ; and it was their business to sweep away the dust 
left by the people at the times of visitation, both in summer and 
in winter, and also to clean the places of ablution that lay round 
the Aksa Mosque. There were also ten Christian servants of the 
Noble Sanctuary, whose office went by inheritance after the same 
fashion. These made, and likewise swept, the mats of the 
Mosque. They also swept out the conduits which carried the 
water into the cisterns, and, further, attended to the keeping clean 
of the cisterns themselves, and other such service. And among 
the servants of the Sanctuary, too, were another company of- 
jews, who made the glass plates for the lamps, and the glass: 
lantern bowls, and glass vessels and rods. And it was appointed 
that from these men also no poll-tax was to be taken, nor from 
those who made the wicks for the lamps ; and this exemption 
continued in force for all time, both to them and their children 
who inherited the office after them, even from the days of 'Abd al - 
Malik, and for ever. 

" Al VValid further writes on the warranty of Abu 'Amir ibn 
Damrah, who reported it on the authority of 'Ata, who had it of 
his father that in early days it was the Jews who were appointed 
to light the lamps in the Noble Sanctuary, but that when the 
Khalif 'Omar ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz came to reign, he deprived them 
of this office, and set in their place servants who had been pur- 
chased with moneys of the Royal Fifth. And a certain man of 
these servants a slave bought of the Royal Fifth came once to 
him, and said : ' Give me manumission, O Khalif !' But 'Omar 
answered : ' How then ! verily I cannot emancipate thee ! but 
shouldst thou depart (of thine own accord), behold I have no 
power over a hair even of the hairs of thy dog !' "* 

Such are the traditional (or apocryphal) accounts, very probably, 
for the most part, an invention of the fourteenth century, which 

* Mujir ad Din, who gives the anecdote, has " a hair of the hairs of thy 
body " in place of " of thy dog." (M. a. D., 250.) 


A. Bab Baud, Gate of David. 

B. Bab as Sakar, Gate of Hell. 

C. Gate leading to the Cloisters of the Sufis. 

D. Bab al Asbat, Gate of the Tribes. 

E. Bab al Abwab, Gate of Gates. 

F. Bab al Taubah, Gate of Repentance. 

G. Bab ar Rahmah, Gate of Mercy. 

H. The ancient Bab al Burak, or Bab al Janaiz, Gate of the Funerals. 
I. Ancient " Single Gate"\ /One of these is the Bab al 'Ain, Gate 
J. Ancient " Triple Gate " J " \ of the Spring. 
K. Bab an Nabi, Gate of the Prophet, the ancient " Double Gate." 
L. Steps leading down to the subterranean Passage-way of this Gate. 
M. Bab Hittah, Gate of Remission. 
N. Dome of the Chain. 
O. Kubbat ar Rasul, Dome of the Prophet. 
P. Kubbat Jibrall, Dome of Gabriel. 

Q. Stairway, called Makam an Nabi, Station of the Prophet. 
R. Stairway, called Makam Ghuri. 

' > Western Stairways. 

U. Northern Stairway, called Makam Shami. 

V. Eastern Stairway, called Makam Sharki, 

W. Oratory of Zachariah. 

X. Dome of Jacob. 

Y. Small Mosque, of old a Hall. 

Z. Steps leading down to the Mosque of the Cradle of Jesus. 

a. Colonnade of Archesx 

" L Along the West Wall. 
c ' "1 



e. V 

Colonnades along the North Wall. 


g. Colonnade of forty-two arches, along South Wall, joining the Western 



a. n 

- > 



purport to relate the events of 'Omar's conquest, and 'Abd al 
Malik's buildings, in the seventh century of our era. How much 
credence should be placed in them it is difficult to say. They 
rest, doubtless, on some foundation of fact ; but the form of the 
greater part of the narratives is very evidently apocryphal. 

We may now return to the older Chronicles and Geographers, 
whose accounts are more worthy of credence, and their authorities 
more easily controlled, and we shall resume the subject of the 
description of the Haram Area, proceeding to quote the earlier 
accounts concerning the various buildings, other than the Aksa 
Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which occupy the area of the 
Noble Sanctuary. 


A few paces east of the Dome of the Rock stands a small 
cupola, supported on pillars, but without any enclosing wall, 
except at the Kiblah point, south, where two of the pillars have a 
piece of wall, forming the Mihrab, built up in between them. This 
is called Kubbat as Silsilah " the Dome of the Chain." As early 
as 913 it is mentioned by Ibn 'Abd Rabbih as "the Dome where, 
during the times of the children of Israel, there hung down the 
chain that gave judgment (of truth and lying) between them." 
(I. R., iii. 368.) 

According to the most generally accepted tradition, King David 
received from the angel Gabriel, not a chain, but an iron rod, 
with the command to span it across his judgment-hall, and on it 
to hang a bell. When the rod was touched in turn by plaintiff 
and defendant, the bell sounded for the one with whom the right 
lay.* The Arab Geographers, however, all speak of a chain ; 
and Yakut, describing this Dome, particularly mentions that it 
was here that was "hung the chain which allowed itself to be 
grasped by him who spoke the truth, but could not be touched by 
him who gave false witness, until he had renounced his craft, and 
repented him of his sin." (Yak., iv. 593.) 

The Dome of the Chain is also mentioned by Ibn 'Abd 
Rabbih's contemporary, Ibn al Fakih, who describes it as, in his 
* See Weil, Biblische Legenden der Muse/manner, p. 215. 


day, " supported on twenty marble columns, and its roof is 
covered with sheets of lead." (I. F., 101.) In Mukaddasi's days 
the Dome of the Chain is also described as merely a cupola, 
" supported on marble pillars, being without walls." (Muk., 

So frail a structure would, doubtless, have frequently suffered 
damage by the earthquakes, which, as is recorded, threw down 
many of the buildings in the Haram Area. And this circum- 
stance will explain the varying accounts given at different times 
of the number of the pillars. At the present day there are 
six in an inner circle, supporting the cupola, and eleven in the 
outer, two of these being built into the Mihrab. This gives a 
total of seventeen pillars (see plan facing p. 114). 

The Persian traveller Nasir, writing in 1047, gives the following 
description of the building he visited (see plan, p. 126) : 

" Besides the Dome of the Rock there is (on the platform) the 
dome called Kubbat as Silsilah (or the Dome of the Chain). The 
' Chain ' is that which David peace be upon him ! hung up, 
and it was so that none who spoke not the truth could grasp it ; 
the unjust and the wicked man could not lay hand on it, which 
same is a certified fact, and well known to the learned. This 
Dome is supported on eight marble columns, and six stone piers ; 
and on all sides it is open, except on the side towards the Kiblah 
point, which is built up, and forms a beautiful Mihrab." (N. Kh., 

Idrisi, in 1154, writing probably from Christian accounts, and 
at a time when the Holy City was in the occupation of the 
Crusaders, speaks of the Dome of the Chain as "the Church 
which is called the Holy of Holies." (See above, p. 131.) Ac- 
cording to the author of the Citez de JJierusalem, a work of about 
the year 1225, the building was in his day known to the Christians 
as "the Chapel of St. James the Less, because it was here he 
was martyred, when the Jews threw him down from the Temple."* 
Saladin, after reconquering the Holy City (1187), must have put 
back the Dome of the Chain to its original use as a Muslim 
oratory. According to Mujir ad Din, the Dome of the Chain was 
* Palestine Pilgrim's Text, p. 13. 


rebuilt by the Egyptian Sultan Baibars, who reigned from 1260 
1277. (M. a. D., 434.) 

It is often stated that the Dome of the Chain was first built to 
serve as the model, from which the architects of 'Abd al Malik 
subsequently erected the Great Dome of the Rock. This idea is, 
I believe, found in no Arab writer previous to Mujir ad Din 
(1496). Suyuti (see above, p. 145), from whom he copies most 
of his descriptions, has not a word of this; and Mujir ad Din 
apparently either himself invented the idea of the Dome of the 
Chain having been built as a model, or else inserted it as the 
account current among the learned of his own day. Mujir ad 
Din's statement is as follows : 

" It is said that (the Khalif) 'Abd al Malik described what he 
desired in the matter and manner of the building of the Dome 
(of the Rock) to his architects, and they, while he sojourned in 
the Holy City, built the small dome which stands to the east of 
the Dome of the Rock, and is called the Dome of the Chain." 
A few lines before, Mujir ad Din further states that the Khalif 
laid up the seven years' tribute of Egypt, which had been amassed 
for the building expenses of the Dome of the Rock " in the 
Dome which stood over against the Rock on the eastern side, and 
which he had caused to be built here near the olive-tree. This he 
made his store-chamber, filling it with the moneys." (M. a. D., 241.) 

Mujir ad Din further describes the Dome of the Chain as in his 
day " supported by seventeen columns, not counting the two (on 
either side) of the Mihrab." (M. a. D., 372.) At the present 
day, as has been noted above, there are seventeen columns in all, 
including those in the Mihrab, so that apparently since 1496 some 
alterations have been effected in this building. 

Minor Domes. Besides the Great Dome of the Rock, and the 
smaller Dome of the Chain to the east of it, there have at all times 
stood on the Platform at least two other smaller Domes, built to 
commemorate the incidents of the Prophet's Night Journey. 
These edifices were of so frail a structure as constantly to have 
suffered by the shocks of earthquake, and it is not surprising to 
find some confusion in the names under which they are described 
at various dates. 


In 903, according to Ibn al Fakih, "in the northern part (of the 
platform) are (i) the Dome of the Prophet, (2) and the Station of 
Gabriel ; (3) while near the Sakhrah (the Dome of the Rock) is 
the Dome of the Ascension." His contemporary, Ibn 'Abd 
Rabbih, on the other hand, mentions "(i) the Dome whence the 
Prophet made his ascent into Heaven ; (2) the Dome over the 
spot where the Prophet prayed (in communion) with the (former) 
Prophets; ... (3) further the Praying-place of Jibrail." Mukad- 
dasi (who wrote in 985) states that the two Minor Domes were 
called " the Dome of the Ascension, and the Dome of the 
Prophet." According to Nasir's account in 1047, m n ^ s day the 
two were known as the Dome of the Prophet, and the Dome of 

From these various statements the conclusion presumably to be 
drawn is, that of the two domes lying north-west of the Sakhrah ; 
that standing furthest to the west was in Ibn al Fakih's time 
called "(i) the Dome of the Prophet;" and this is identical with 
that mentioned by Ibn 'Abd Rabbih as "(2) the Dome where the 
Prophet prayed," with Mukaddasi's " Dome of the Prophet," also 
described a little later under the same name by Nasir-i-Khusrau. 
The Dome, occupying the position of the one here spoken of, goes 
at the present day by the .name of the Kubbat al Mi raj , the Dome 
of the Ascension. (Plan at the end of the present chapter, R.) 

Between the present Dome of the Ascension and the Great 
Dome of the Rock, there would seem to have stood in old days 
a second Minor Dome, occupying the position of the present 
Dome or Prayer-Station of the Angel Gabriel. (Plan at the end 
of the chapter, at S.) P'rom very early times, however, the names 
of these Minor Domes would appear to have been constantly 
interchanged or altered. Thus this second Dome is called by 
Jbn al Fakih "(3) the Dome of the Ascension;" by Ibn 'Abd 
Rabbih "(i) the Dome whence the Prophet ascended;" by 
Mukaddasi "the Dome of the Ascension;" and by Nasir "the 
Dome of Gabriel." Further, besides these two Domes, Ibn al 
Fakih, and Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, both mention " the Praying-Station 
of Gabriel," which is not spoken of by either Mukaddasi or Nasir. 

The only actual description of the two Minor Domes, stand- 


ing to the north-west of the Sakhrah, previous to the Crusades is 
that left us by Nasir-i-Khusrau in 1047. After describing the 
I )ome of the Rock and the Dome of the Chain, he continues : 

" And again, on the platform, is another Dome, that surmounts 
four marble columns. This, too, on the Kiblah side, is walled in, 
forming a fine Mihrab. It is called Kubbat Jibrail (the Dome of 
Gabriel); and there are no carpets spread here, for its floor is 
formed by the live-rock, that has been here made smooth. They 
say that on the night of the Mi'raj (the Ascent into Heaven) the 
steed Burak was tied up at this spot, until the Prophet peace 
and benediction be upon him ! was ready to mount. Lastly, 
there is yet another Dome, lying 20 cubits distant from the Dome 
of Gabriel, and it is called Kubbat ar Rasul (or the Dome of the 
Prophet) peace and benediction be upon him! This Dome, 
likewise, is set upon four marble piers." (N. Kh., 49.) 

To what purpose these Minor Domes were put during the 
occupation of the Holy City by the Crusaders is unknown. 
Shortly after Saladin had reconquered Jerusalem in 1187, what 
is now known of the Dome of the Ascension was rebuilt, having 
fallen to ruin. Mujir ad Din, writing in 1496, states : 

"The present Dome of the Ascension was rebuilt in 597 (1200) 
by the governor of Jerusalem, 'Izz ad Din 'Othman ibn 'Ali 
Az Zanjili, the more ancient Dome having fallen to ruin." 
(M. a. D., 373.) An inscription giving this date may still be read 
on the present Kubbat al Mi'raj. 

The position of the minor Dome, known of old as the Dome of 
the Prophet, appears to have been a matter of controversy among 
the learned in the days that followed the Muslim re-occupation of 
Jerusalem. Yakut (1225) refers to it as the Dome of An Nabi 
Daudt\\Q Prophet David. (Yak., iv. 594.) This change of 
name from Muhammad to David is probably what led Suytiti, 
writing in 1470, to put forward the following theory for the 
identification of the older Dome of the Prophet, as described by 
Muslim writers previous to the time of the Crusaders. Suyuti's 
indentification of this Dome of the Prophet with the Dome of the 
Chain has not, it will be noted, been adopted by subsequent 
authorities. Suyuti writes : 


" The Dome named the Dome of the Prophet is, as I under- 
stand it, the one which lies to the east of the Sakhrah, being also 
called the Dome of the Chain. It was built by the Khalif 'Abd al 
Malik. For I would point out that in the Haram Area, beside 
the Dome of the Ascension, there are but two other Domes. One, 
a small Dome, stands at the edge of the Sakhrah Platform, on the 
right hand side of the northernmost of the steps leading up to the 
Platform from the west.* I believe at the present day this is in the 
hands of certain of the servants of the Noble Sanctuary, and is put to 
some use on their part ; certainly no one in the Holy City con- 
siders this to be the Dome of the Prophet. The only other Dome 
(in the Haram Area) stands back near the Gate of the Noble 
Sanctuary, on the northern side, called the Gate of the Glory 
of the Prophets, known also as the Bab ad Dawadariyyah. This 
is called the Dome of Sulaiman not after the Prophet Solomon, 
but perhaps after Sulaiman, the son of the Khalif 'Abd al Malik. 
As to the Dome of the Ascension, it is, as everybody knows, 
on the Platform of the Sakhrah, and is much visited by the 
pilgrims. Hence, therefore, it is likely that what Al Musharraf, 
and the author of the Mustaksa and of the Bffith an Nufus, 
referred to under the name of the Dome of the Prophet, is that 
now known as the Dome of the Chain, which was built by the 
Khalif 'Abdal Malik." 

" Now, as to the place where the Prophet prayed, in the com- 
pany of the former Prophets and the Angels, it is said that this 
spot is beside the Dome of the Ascension, where, on the Platform 
of the Sakhrah, there used to stand a beautiful Dome. When, how- 
ever, they flagged the Platform of Sakhrah, they did away with 
this Dome, and set in its place a handsome Mihrab, the floor of 
which is laid in a circle with red marble slabs, after the manner of 
other parts of the Sakhrah Court. This, then, as it is said, in the 
place occupied by this Mihrab, is where the Prophet made his 
prayer with the Angels and Prophets. He then advanced a step 
forward from that place, and there rose up before him a ladder of 
gold and a ladder of silver, and thereby he ascended into Heaven." 
(S., 260, 261 ; the last paragraph is copied by M. a. D., 374.) 
>' At present known as Kubbat al Khidr, the Dome of St. George. 


The Platform and Stairways. The Platform occupying the 
centre of the Haram Area, on which stand the Dome of the Rock 
and the other minor Domes, according to Ibn al Fakih, measured 
in his days (903) " 300 ells in length, by 140 ells across, and 
its height is 9 ells." (I. F., 100.) Taking the ell to be the royal 
ell, measuring i \ feet (the evaluation derived from the dimensions 
recorded of the Dome of the Rock), this gives 450 feet, by 210, 
and is considerably less than the measurement of the present Plat- 
form, which is, taking the mean of length and breadth, 540 feet by 
465 feet. In 1047 we have Nasir-i-Khusrau's measurements 
recorded, namely, " 330 cubits by 300 "; but the cubit (in the 
Persian Arsh) here used is the long cubit of nearly 2 feet. 
This, if the figures be correct, gives rather under 660 feet, by 
600 feet,a nd would go to prove that at Nasir's date, just pre- 
vious to the Crusades, the Platform was somewhat larger than 
it is at present. Further, it had apparently been raised in the 
height since Ibn al Fakih's days. Then it was 9 (shorter) ells, or 
13^ feet, above the level of the Court ; in Nasir's time it was 
12 (longer) ells, somewhat under 24 feet high. At the present day 
the upper level is only some 10 feet above that of the rest of the 
Haram Area. 

Mujir ad Din, writing at the close of the fifteenth century, gives 
the measures he himself had made, which prove that in his day 
the Platform must have occupied exactly the same lines it does at 
the present time. The measurement he uses is the Workman's ell, 
which was approximately 2\ English feet. The following is a 
translation from his text : 

" The dimensions of the Platform (Sahn) of the Sakhrah are 
these : From the South Wall, between the two stairways, the line 
passing between the East Gate of the Dome of the Rock and the 
Dome of the Chain, up to the North Wall, opposite the Bab 
Hittah, measures 235 ells. From the East Wall, over against the 
Olive-trees that are near the Kubbat at Tumar (the Dome of the 
Roll), to the West Wall opposite the Sultan's Madrasah, measures 
189 ells of the Workman's ell." (M. a. D., 377.) 

Ibn al Fakih states that the platform was (in 903) ascended by six 
flights of steps. Mukaddasi, about eighty years later, says there 


were four stairways leading up from the four sides ; Nasir-i- 
Khusrau, in 1052, however, gives six again as the number of the 
stairways, and he adds the following description of the Platform 
and its stairways : 

" In the middle of the Court of the Haram Area is the Plat- 
form, and set in the midst thereof is the Sakhrah (Rock) which, 
before the revelation of Islam, was the Kiblah (or point turned to 
in prayer). The Platform was constructed by reason that the 
Rock, being high, could not be brought within the compass of the 
Main-building (of the Aksa Mosque). Wherefore the foundations 
of this Platform were laid, measuring 330 cubits by 300, and the 
height thereof 12 ells. The surface of the same is level, and 
beautifully paved with slabs of marble, with walls the like, all the 
joints being riveted with lead. Along the edge of its four sides 
are parapets of marble blocks that fence it round, so that, except 
by the openings left especially therefor, you cannot enter. From 
the Platform you command a view over the roofs of the (Aksa) 
Mosque. There is an underground tank in the midst of the Plat- 
form, whereto is collected, by means of conduits, all the rain-water 
that falls on the Platform itself; and the water of this tank is 
sweeter and purer than is the water of any other of the tanks 
in the Haram Area." 

" Now, regarding the stairways that lead up on to the platform 
from the court of the Noble Sanctuary, these are six in number, 
each with its own name. On the side (south) towards the Kiblah, 
there are two flights of steps that go up on to the platform. As 
you stand by the middle of the retaining wall of the platform 
(facing south), there is one flight to the right hand and another 
to the left. That lying on the right is called Makam an Nabi 
(the Prophet's Station) peace be upon him ! and that lying 
on the left is called Makam Ghuri (or the Station of Ghuri). 
The stairway of the Prophet's Station is so called because 
that on the night of his ascent, the Prophet upon him be 
peace and blessing ! went up to the platform thereby, going 
thence to the Dome of the Rock. And the road hither from 
the Hijjaz comes by this stair. At the present day this stairway 
is 20 cubits broad, and each step is a rectangular block of care- 


fully chiselled stone in one piece, or sometimes in two. The 
steps are laid in such fashion that it would be possible to ride on 
horseback up the stairway to the platform. At the top of this 
stairway are four piers of marble, green, like the emerald, only 
that the marble is variegated with numberless coloured spots ; and 
these pillars are TO cubits in height, and so thick that it would 
take two men to encompass them. Above the capitals of these 
four pillars rise three arches one opposite the gate, and one on 
either side ; and (the masonry) crowning the arches is flat-topped 
and rectangular, with battlements and a cornice set on it. These 
pillars and the arches are ornamented in gold and enamel-work, 
than which none can be finer. 

"The balustrade round the (edge of the) platform is of green 
marble, variegated with spots, so that one would say it was a 
meadow covered with flowers in bloom. The stairway of Makam 
Ghuri consists of a triple flight, and the three lead up together on 
to the platform one in the middle, and two on either side so 
that by three ways can people go up. At the summit of each of 
the three flights are columns supporting arches with a cornice. 
Each step is skilfully cut of squared stone, as before described, and 
each may consist of two or three blocks in the length. Over the 
arcade above is set a beautiful inscription in gold, stating that the 
same was constructed by command of the Amir Laith ad Daulah 
Nushtakin Ghtiri ; and they told me that this Laith ad Daulah 
had been a servant of the Sultan of Egypt, and had caused these 
steps and gangways to be built. 

"On the western side of the platform there are, likewise, two 
flights of steps leading up thereon, and constructed with the same 
skill as those I have just described. On the east side there is 
but one flight. It is built after a like fashion to the foregoing, 
with columns and an arch with battlements above, and it is 
named Makam Sharki (or the Eastern Station). On the northern 
side (of the platform) there is also a single stairway, but it is 
higher and broader than are any of the others. As with those, 
there are here columns and arches built (at the top of the flight), 
and it goes by the name of Makam Shdmi (that is, the Syrian or 
Northern Station). According to the estimate I made, these six 


flights of steps must have had expended upon them 100,000 dinars 
or (,50,000)." (N. Kh., 43-45-) 

Nushtakin Ghuri, here spoken of, was a Turk who commanded 
the armies of the Fatimite Khalif Adh Dhahir. From having 
originally been a slave in Khoten, he rose to become Governor 
of Syria, where he ruled between the years 1028 1041, shortly 
before Nasir's visit. 

The Court of the Hararn Area. The early accounts which 
describe the various buildings Domes, Mihrabs, and Oratories 
found scattered over the great court of the Haram Area make 
mention of edifices, some of which, with the lapse of time, 
have now completely disappeared, while others, having changed 
their names, can only doubtfully be identified with the existing 

During the eighty-eight years that Jerusalem remained in the 
hands of the Crusaders, the buildings of the Haram Area were 
turned to various purposes religious or domestic by the 
Templars, to whom the Noble Sanctuary had been granted. 
When Saladin retook the Holy City, it was in the third generation, 
counting from those who had been dispossessed by Godfrey de 
Bouillon, and many of the Muslim traditions attached to the then 
extant buildings of the Haram Area had doubtless been forgotten 
or become falsified. 

Of the Haram Area in general, in the beginning of the tenth 
century we have two accounts (dating from 903 and 913), which, 
judging from their points of coincidence, may possibly have been 
derived from the same source. It is not certain whether either 
of the respective authors of these accounts (Ibn al Fakih and 
Ibn 'Abd Rabbih) ever personally visited the places they purpose 
to describe. Portions of these accounts have been frequently 
copied by subsequent writers, and notably by Suyuti, from whom 
Mujir ad Din has so freely plagiarized. (See above, p. 148.) 
Some of the details mentioned in these two accounts have already 
been commented upon in the foregoing pages ; the description of 
the other small buildings described as occupying the Haram Area 
in the tenth century will now be noted and compared with the 
accounts that have come down to us from other sources. First, 


however, it will be well to give complete translations of the two 
descriptions of the Haram Area. 

Ihn al Fakih's description, written in 903, is as follows: 

" It is said that the length of the Noble Sanctuary at Jerusalem 
is 1,000 ells, and its width 700 ells. There are (in its buildings) 
four thousand beams of wood, seven hundred pillars (of stone), 
and five hundred brass chains. It is lighted every night by one 
thousand six hundred lamps, and it is served by one hundred and 
forty slaves. The monthly allowance of olive-oil is 100 kists,* 
and yearly they provide 800,000 ells of matting, also twenty-five 
thousand water-jars. Within the Noble Sanctuary are sixteen 
chests for the volumes of the Kuran set apart for public service, 
and these manuscripts are the admiration of all men. There are 
four pulpits for voluntary preachers, and one set apart for the 
salaried preacher ; and there are also four tanks for the ablutions. 
On the various roofs (of the Mosque and domes), in place of clay, 
are used forty-five thousand sheets of lead. To the right hand of 
the Mihrab (in the Aksa Mosque) is a slab on which, in a circle, 
is written the name of Mohammed the blessing of Allah be 
upon him .'and on a white stone behind the Kiblah (wall, to the 
south) is the inscription : In the name of Allah the Merciful, the 
Compassionate, Mohammed is Allah's Apostle. JrJamzah ivas his 
helper, f Within the Mosque are three Maksurahs (or railed 
spaces) for the women, each Maksurah being 70 ells in length. 
There are within and without (the Noble Sanctuary) in all fifty 
gates (and doors)." 

Next follows the description of the Dome of the Rock and the 
minor domes already translated (p. 120). Ibn al Fakih then 
continues : 

11 Among the gates (of the Haram Area) are Bab Daud, Bab 
Hittah, Bab an Nabi (Gate of the Prophet), Bab at Taubah (Gate 
of Repentance), and there is here the Mihrab Maryam (Prayer- 
niche of Mary), Bab al Wadi, Bab ar Rahmah (Gate of Mercy), 
with the Mihrab Zakariyya, Abwab al Asbat (the Gates of the 

* The Kist (from the Greek Ee<rr?;c, and the Roman Sextarius) \vns 
equivalent to about a quart and a half of our measure, 
t The Prophet's uncle, who fell at the Battle of Ohod. 



Tribes), with the Cave of Abraham, the Mihrab of Jacob, and 
Bab Dar Umm Khalid (the Gate of the House of Khalid's 
Mother). Outside the Haram Area at the City Gate to the west 
is the Mihrab Daud (David's Prayer-niche). The place of the 
tying-up of (the steed) Al Burak is in the angle of the southern 
minaret. The Spring of Siloam ('A in Sulwan) lies to the south 
of the Haram Area. The Mount of Olives overlooks the Haram 
Area, being separated therefrom by the Wadi Jahannum. From 
(the Mount of Olives) Jesus was taken up ; across (the Wadi) will 
extend the bridge As Sirat ; and there, too, is the Place of Prayer 
of the Khalif 'Omar, also many of the tombs of the prophets." 
(I. F., 100, 101.) 

Ibn 'Abd Rabbih's notice, written some ten years later than the 
above, differs in some of the details. It is as follows : 

" Description of the Mosque of the Holy City, and what therein is 
of Holy Places of the Prophets. The length of the Haram Area 
is 784 ells, and its breadth 455 ells, of the ells of the Imam.* 
They light the Noble Sanctuary with 1,500 lamps, and in its 
structures have been employed 6,900 beams of wood. Its gates 
are 50 in number, and there are 684 columns. Within the 
Sakhrah (the Dome of the Rock) are 30 columns, and the 
columns which are outside the Sakhrah are 18 in number. t The 
Dome is covered by means of 3,392 sheets of lead, over which are 
placed plates of brass, gilded, which number 10,210. The total 
number of the lamps that light the Sakhrah is 464, which hang by 
hooks and chains of copper. The height of the Sakhrah of the 
Holy City (in ancient days), when it reached heavenward, was 
12 miles, and the people of Jericho (to the east) profited by its 
shadow, as did also those of 'Am was (Emmaus, to the west); and 
there was set over it (in the early times) a red ruby, which shone, 
giving light even to the people of the Balka, so that those who 
lived there were able to spin by the light thereof. In the Masjid 

* If the reading Imam be correct, the Imam in question is doubtless the 
Khalif 'Ali, who inaugurated many novelties besides the standard of the ell. 

t See p. 122. It will be observed that As Sakhrah (the Rock) is used to 
denote both the Dome and the Rock itself ; just as Al Masjid means the whole 
Haram Area, and more particularly the Mosque (or Masjid) Al Aksa in its 
southern part. 


(al Aksa ?) arc three Maksurahs (enclosed spaces) for the women, 
the length of each Maksurah being 80 ells, and its breadth 50 ells.* 
In the Mosque are 600 chains for the suspending of the lamps, 
each chain being 18 ells in length; also seventy copper sieves! 
(Ghirbal\ and seven cone-shaped stands (called Sanaubar&f) for 
the lamps. Further, seventy complete copies of the Kuran, and 
six copies of greater size, each page of which is made of a single 
skin of parchment ; these last are placed on desks. The Noble 
Sanctuary contains ten Mihrabs, fifteen Domes, twenty-four cisterns 
for water, and four minarets, from whence they make the call to 
prayer. All the roofs, that is, of the Mosque, the Domes, and the 
minarets, are covered with gilded plates. Of servants appointed 
to its service, there are, together with their families, in all 230 
persons, called Mamluks (slaves), all of whom receive their rations 
from the Public Treasury. Monthly there is allowed (for the 
Noble Sanctuary) 700 Kists Ibrahimi of olive-oil, the weight of 
the Kist being a Ratl and a half of the larger weight { The 
allowance yearly of mats is 8,000 of the same. For the hanks of 
cotton for the wicks of the lamps, they allow yearly 12 Dinars 
(^6) ; for lamp-glasses, 33 Dinars ; and for the payment of the 
workmen, who repair the various roofs in the Noble Sanctuary, 
there is 15 Dinars yearly. 

" Of Holy Places of the Prophets in Jerusalem are the following : 
Under the corner of the (Aksa) Mosque is the spot where the 
Prophet tied up his steed, Al Burak. Of gate leading into the 
Noble Sanctuary are the Bab Daud, the Bab Sulaiman, and the 
Bab Hittah, which last is intended by Allah when he saith $ ' Say 
ye, Hittah (forgiveness), and there is no God but Allah ;' but 
some men say Hintah (wheat), making a jest thereof, for which 
may Allah curse them in their impiety ! Also there are the Bab 
Muhammad, and the Bab at Taubah (the Gate of Repentance), 
where Allah vouchsafed repentance to David. And the Bab ar 
Rahmah (the Gate of Mercy), of which Allah has made mention in 
His Book, saying : 'A gate, within which is Mercy ; while without 

* See p. 100. t What purpose these served is unknown. 

% That is, about nine pounds to the Kist. 

Kuran, ii 55. II Kuran, Ivii. 13. 

II 2 


the same is the Torment,' alluding to the Wadi Jahannum, which 
lies on the east of the Holy City. And the Abwab al Asbat (the 
Gates of the Tribes), the tribes being the Tribes of the Children 
of Israel ; and the Gates here are six in number. Also the Bab 
al Walid, the Bab al Hashimi, the Bab al Khidr (the Gate of Elias 
or St. George), and the Bab as Sakinah (the Gate of the Shechina, 
or Divine Presence). 

"In the Noble Sanctuary further are the Mihrab of Mary 
(Mother of Jesus), the daughter of 'Amran, whither the Angels 
were wont to bring her fruits of winter during the summer-time, 
and summer-fruits in the winter -time. Also the Mihrab of 
Zakariyya (father of John the Baptist), where the Angels gave 
him the good news (of the birth) of John, at a time when he was 
standing praying therein. Also the Mihrab Ya'kub (Jacob), and 
the Kursi Sulaiman (the Throne of Solomon), where he used to 
pray to Allah ; and the Minaret of Abraham, the Friend of the 
Merciful, whither he was wont to retire for worship. There are 
likewise here the Dome whence the Prophet (Muhammad) made 
his ascent into Heaven; the Dome over the spot where the 
Prophet prayed with the Prophets (of old) ; also the Dome where, 
during the times of the Children of Israel, there did hang down 
the Chain that gave judgment (of truth or lying) between them. 
Further, the Praying-place of Gabriel (Musalla Jibrail), and the 
Praying-place of Al Khidr (Elias). 

" Now when thou enterest the Sakhrah (or Dome of the Rock), 
make thy prayer in the three corners thereof; and also pray on 
the slab which rivals the Rock itself in glory, for it lies over a gate 
of the Gates of Paradise. The birthplace of Jesus, the son of 
Mary, is (at Bethlehem) about 3 miles distant from the Noble 
Sanctuary ; Abraham's Mosque (which is Hebron), wherein is his 
tomb, is 18 miles from the- Holy City. The (Malikite) Mihrab of 
this Mosque lies on the western side. And among the excellent 
sights of the Holy City are these. The place of the Bridge As 
Sirat is in the Holy City, and from Jahannum (Hell) may Allah 
keep us therefrom ! it will reach even unto the Holy City. On 
the Day of Resurrection Paradise will be brought as a bride to the 
Holy City, and the Ka'abah also shall come thither with her, so 


that men will exclaim, ' All hail to those who come as pilgrims ! 
and all hail to her to whom pilgrimage is made !' And the Black 
Stone shall be brought, in bridal procession, to the Holy City; 
and the Black Stone on that day shall be greater in size than the 
Hill of Abu Kubais.* Among the Excellencies of the Holy City 
are these, namely : that Allah did take up His Prophet into 
Heaven from the Holy City, as likewise Jesus, the son of Mary. 
And verily in the last days the Antichrist shall conquer Christ in 
all and every part of the earth, excepting only in the Holy City. 
And Allah hath forbidden Gog and Magog to set foot in the Holy 
City. Lastly, all the Saints and Holy Men of God are from the 
Holy City, and Adam and Moses and Joseph, and the great 
company of the Prophets of the Children of Israel all left by testa- 
ment the command that they should be buried in the Holy City." 
(I. R., iii. 366-368.) 

Mukaddasi, writing in 985, corroborates some of the details 
mentioned by the two foregoing authorities. He notes : 

" Of the holy places within (the Haram Area) are the Mihrab 
Maryam (the Oratory of Mary), Zakariyyah (of Zachariah), Ya'kub 
(of Jacob), and Al Khidr (of Elias, or St. George), the Station of 
the Prophet (Afakdm an Nabi), and of Jibrail (Gabriel), the Place 
of the Ant, and of the Fire, and of the Ka'abah, and also of the 
Bridge As Sirat, which shall divide Heaven and Hell. Now, the 
dimensions of the Haram Area are : length, 1,000 ells of the 
royal Hashimite ell and width, 700. In the ceiling of its various 
edifices there are four thousand wooden beams, supported on seven 
hundred marble columns, and the roofs are overlaid with forty- 
five thousand sheets of lead. The measurement of the Rock 
itself is 33 ells by 27, and the cavern which lies beneath will 
hold sixty-nine persons. The endowment provides monthly for 
100 Kists of olive-oil, and in each year they use 800,000 ells 
of matting. The Mosque is served by special attendants ; their 
service was instituted by the Khalif 'Abd al Malik, the men 
being chosen from among the Royal Fifth of the captives 
taken in war, and hence they are called Al Akhmas (the! 
Quintans). None besides these are employed in the service, 
* The hill overhanging the city of Makkah on the west. 


and they take their watch in turn beside the Rock." (Muk. y 
170, 171.) 

The various points of interest in the preceding descriptions 
must now be noticed in detail, and compared with the descriptions 
derived from other authorities. 

The Cradle of Jesus. The small Mosque in the substructures of 
the ancient tower at the south-eastern angle of the Haram Area, 
known at the present day as the Cradle of Jesus, is spoken of by 
Ibn 'Abd Rabbih (see above, p. 164) under the name of "The 
Mihrab of Mary, the daughter of 'Amran (and Mother of Jesus)." 
Mukaddasi, too, mentions among the Holy places in the Haram 
Area " The Mihrab Maryam and Zakariyyah." 

The earliest detailed description of this spot is to be found in 
Nasir's diary. He writes : "Adjacent to the East Wall, and when 
you have reached the south (eastern) angle (of the Haram Area) 
the Kiblah-point lying before you, south, but somewhat aside 
there is an underground Mosque, to which you descend by many 
steps. It is situated immediately to the north of the (South) Wall 
of the Haram Area, covering a space measuring 20 ells by 15, and 
the chamber has a roof of stone, supported on marble columns. 
Here was of old the Cradle of Jesus. The Cradle is of stone, and 
large enough for a man to make therein his prayer prostrations, 
and I myself said my prayers there. The Cradle is fixed 
into the ground, so that it cannot be moved. This Cradle is 
where Jesus was laid during His childhood, and where He held 
converse with the people. The Cradle itself, in this Mosque, has 
been made the Mihrab (or oratory) ; and there is, likewise, on the 
east side of this Mosque the Mihrab Maryam (or Oratory of Mary), 
and another Mihrab, which is that of Zakariyya (Zachariah) 
peace be upon him ! Above these Mihrabs are written the verses 
revealed in the Kuran that relate respectively to Zachariah and to 
Mary. They say that Jesus peace be upon Him ! was born in 
the place where this Mosque now stands. On the shaft of one of 
the columns there is impressed a mark as though a person had 
gripped the stone with two fingers ; and they say that Mary, when 
taken in the pangs of labour, did thus with one hand seize upon 
the stone, leaving this mark thereon. This Mosque is known by 


the title of Mahd 'Isa (the Cradle of Jesus) peace be upon Him ! 
and they have suspended a great number of lamps there of 
silver and of brass, that are lighted every night." (N. K.h., 33.) 

I hiring the occupation of the Crusaders, the Templars used these 
substructures under the south-east angle of the Haram Area for the 
stabling of their horses, and by the Latin chroniclers the place is 
mentioned under the name of the Stables of Solomon. 'AH of 
Herat, who wrote in 1173, during the Latin occupation, speaks of 
these substructures under this name. He writes : 

" Below the Haram Area are the Stables of Solomon, where he 
kept his beasts ; and they say there are here in the walls stones of 
enormous size, and the mangers for the beasts are to be seen even 
to this day. There are also here the Caverns known as the Cradle 
of Jesus, the son of Mary peace be upon Him !" (A. H., Oxf. 
MS., f. 39.) 

Previous to the advent of the Crusaders, many buildings stood 
in the great Court of the Noble Sanctuary, no traces of which 
remain at present ; and, from the descriptions of Mujir ad Din 
and Suyuti, many would seem to have already disappeared at the 
date of Saladin's re-occupation of the Holy City. Thus Nasir-i- 
Khusrau, in 1047, writes : 

" In the Court of the Haram Area, but not upon the Platform, 
is a building resembling a small Mosque. It lies towards the 
north side, and is a walled enclosure (hadhirah\ built of squared 
stones, with walls of over a man's height. It is called the Mihrab 
Daud (or the Oratory of David). Near this enclosure is a rock, 
standing up about as high as a man, and the summit of it, which 
is uneven, is rather smaller than would suffice for spreading 
thereon a (prayer) rug. This place they say was the Throne 
of Solomon (Kursi Sulaiman), and they relate that Solomon 
peace be upon him ! sat thereon while occupied with building the 
Noble Sanctuary." 

This Mihrab Daud, which is said to be in the northern portion 
of the Haram Area, and near the Kursi Sulaiman, can hardly be 
the place named at present the " Oratory of David," which is a 
niche in the great south wall of the Haram Area. It is probably 
the same building as the Kubbat Sulainmn of Mujir ad Din, 


before the Bab al 'Atm, and immediately to the south-west of that 
gate. (Plan facing p. 172, at V.) 

As regards the identification of the Mihrab of David, Suyuti, 
writing in 1470, discusses the subject in the following terms : 

" Now, as to the Mihrab Daud, there is diversity of opinion as 
to its identification. Some say it is the great Mihrab, which is in 
the south wall of the Haram Area ; others, that it is the great 
Mihrab in the neighbourhood of the Mimbar (or pulpit of the 
Aksa Mosque). The author of the work called Al Path al Kiidsi 
asserts that the Mihrab of David is in the Castle of the Holy 
City, in the place where David was wont to pray. For his dwelling 
being in the Castle, here, also, was his place of worship. Now, 
the Mihrab, whereof mention, by Allah, is made in the Kuran in 
the words (chapter xxxviii. 20), ' When they mounted the wall of the 
Mihrab,' is generally admitted to be the Mihrab of David, where 
he prayed, and this was situated in the Castle, that being his place 
of worship ; while the spot now known as the great Mihrab, which 
is inside the Haram Area, is looked upon as the place where 
David was wont to pray when he came into the Haram Area. 
When 'Omar came hither, he sought to follow in David's steps, 
and made his prayer in the place where David had prayed. 
Hence the place came to be called the Mihrab of 'Omar, from the 
fact of his having prayed there for the first time on the day of the 
capitulation of Jerusalem ; but originally this had been named the 
Mihrab of David. In confirmation of this is the fact of 'Omar's 
known veneration of this spot. For when he asked of Ka'ab, 
' Which place wishest thou that we should institute as the place of 
our prayer in this Sacred Area ?' and Ka'ab had answered, ' In 
the hinder part thereof, where it may be near the Sakhrah, so that 
the two Kiblahs (namely, of Moses and of Muhammad) may be 
united,' 'Omar had said, ' O Abu Ishak, so thou wouldst act still 
in Jew fashion? Are we not a people to whom the forepart of 
the Holy Area belongs as of right ?'* Then 'Omar marked out the 
Mihrab, which had been that of David, and where he had been 
wont to worship in the Haram Area. Thus 'Omar's opinion, and 
his veneration for this spot, both confirm the view that David, in 

* See p. 142. 


ancient times, had fixed on this place, and had chosen the same 
as his place of prayer." (S., 262 264.) 

Besides the building called the Oratory of David, Nasir 
mentions two other Domes as standing in the northern part of the 
Haram Area. The first of these the Dome of Jacob (Kubbat 
Ya'kub) he says, stood near the colonnade, running along the 
wall from the present Bab Hittah then called the Gate to the 
Cloisters of the Sufis to the north-west angle of the Haram Area. 
(See below, p. 176 ; also on Plan facing p. 150, at X.) 

The other dome stood apparently in the north-east angle of the 
Haram Area (Plan facing p. 150, W). It was called the Oratory 
of Zachariah (Mihrab Zakariyya). Of this no trace remains at the 
present day. The Dome of Jacob is probably that now known 
under the name of the Kubbat Sulaiman, the Dome of Solomon. 
(Plan facing p. 172, U.) 

Concerning the Throne of Solomon, which Mukaddasi and 
Nasir both mention, the following traditional account is given by 
Suyuti : 

"It is also related that Solomon God's prophet when he had 
finished the building (of the Temple), sacrificed three thousand 
heifers and seven thousand ewes at the place which is in the after 
(or northern) part of the Haram Area, in the vicinity of the Bab 
al Asbat (the Gate of the Tribes). This is the spot which is now 
occupied by the building called the Throne of Solomon." (S., 
258 ; see Plan facing p. 172, V.) 

This passage is copied by Mujir ad Din, who, however, adds 
that, according to the received tradition of his day, the place 
which is known as the Kursi Sulaiman is within the dome known 
as the Dome of Sulaiman, near the Bab ad Duwaidariyyah. 
(M. a. D., in ; Plan facing p. 172, U.) 

Of other Domes, Mujir ad Din (in 1496) mentions the follow- 
ing : 

" Kubbat Musa (the Dome of Moses) stands opposite the Bab 
as Silsilah (the Gate of the Chain). It is not called after Moses, 
and has no traditional connection with him. It was rebuilt in 649 
(1251), and was anciently called Kubbat ash Shajarah, the Dome 
of the Tree." (M. a. D., 375.) 


" Kubbat at Tumar, the Dome of the Roll, stands on the edge 
of the platform at the south-east corner." (M. a. D., 376.) 

Speaking of the minarets of the Haram Area, Mujir ad Din 
writes : " The four minarets occupy the same position as did those 
of the days of 'Abd al Malik. The first of them is at the south- 
west angle of the Haram Area, above the Madrasah of Fakhr ad 
Din. The second is above the Gate of the Chain. The third is 
at the north-west angle, and is called Madhanat al Ghawanimah. 
It is near the gate of that name (Plan facing p. 172, at F), and 
was rebuilt about the year 697 (1298). The fourth is the minaret 
between the Gate of the Tribes and the Gate Hittah. It was 
rebuilt in 769 (1367)." (M. a. D., 379, 380.) 

In conclusion it may be useful briefly to recapitulate the various 
minor Domes and Shrines of the Haram Area, mentioned by the 
authorities prior to the first Crusade, after which date so many 
alterations were effected among the edifices of the Noble Sanctuary. 
The present Dome of the Ascension is that called the Dome of 
the Prophet, by Ibn al Fakih ; the Dome of the Ascension, by 
both Ibn 'Abd Rabbih and Mukaddasi ; and the Dome of the 
Prophet, by Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The present Dome of Gabriel (close to the Dome of the Rock) 
is that called the Station of Jibrail, by Ibn al Fakih ; the Prayer- 
station of Jibrail, by Ibn 'Abd Rabbih ; the Dome, of the Prophet, 
by Mukaddasi; and the Dome of Jibrail, by Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The Dome where the Prophet prayed with the Former Prophets 
is mentioned by Ibn 'Abd Rabbih. Mukaddasi also speaks of the 
Station of the Prophet, and the Station of Gabriel, as among the 
Shrines in the Haram Area. 

The Station of Al Khidr (St. George or Elias) is mentioned by 
Ibn al Fakih, Ibn 'Abd Rabbih and Mukaddasi, the last naming 
it a Mihrab. 

The present Cradle of Jesus is mentioned by Ibn al Fakih, Ibn 
'Abd Rabbih, Mukaddasi, and Nasir-i-Khusrau, who also speak of 
the Mihrab Maryam, and the Mihrab Zakariyyah. 

Another Mihrab Zakariyyah, or Dome, near the north-west 
angle of the Haram Area, is also mentioned by Nasir-i-Khusrau 
(unknown at the present day). 


The Cave of Abraham is mentioned by Ibn al Fakih, and the 
Minaret of Abraham by Ibn 'Abd Rabbih (both unknown at the 
present day). 

The Place of the Ant, the Place of the Fire, and the Place of 
the Ka'abah, are all mentioned by Mukaddasi. 

The Mihrab of Jacob is mentioned by Ibn al Fakih, Ibn 'Abd 
Rabbih, and Mukaddasi ; the Dome of Jacob, in the north part of 
the Noble Sanctuary, is described by Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The Mihrab of David, in the north part of the Haram Area, is 
mentioned by Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The Throne of Solomon is mentioned by Ibn 'Abd Rabbih 
and Nasir-i-Khusrau. 

The place of the Bridge between Heaven and Hell, called As 
Sirat, is mentioned by Ibn al Fakih, Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, and 

The tying-up place of the steed Burak is mentioned by Ibn al 
Fakih and Ibn 'Abd Rabbih. 



A. Bab as Silsilah, Gate of the Chain. 

B. Bab al Mutawadda, Gate of the Place of the Ablution ; or Bab al 

Matarah, Gate of Rain. 

C. Bab al Kattanin, Gate of the Cotton Merchants. 

D. Bab al Hadid, Gate of Iron. 

E. Bab an Nadhir, Gate of the Inspector. 

F. Bab al Ghawanimah, Gate of the Ghanim Family. 

G. Babal 'Atm, Gate of the Darkness ; also called Bab Sharaf al Anbiya, 

Gate of the Glory of the Prophets, or Bab ad Dawtklariyyah, 

Gate of the Secretariat. 
H. Bab Hittah, Gate of Remission. 
I. Bab al Asbat, Gate of the Tribes. 
J. Bab at Taubah, Gate of Repentance. ) 
K. B^b ar Rahmah, Gate of Mercy. | The Golden Gate " 
L. Walled-up Gate, anciently called Bab al Janaiz, Gate of the Funerals, 

or Bab al Buralc. 

M. Ancient " Single Gate," walled up. 
N. Ancient " Triple Gate," walled up. 
O. Ancient " Double Gate," leading to the underground Passage-way, 

under the Aksa Mosque. 
P. Bab al Magh^ribah, Gate of the Western Africans ; below it is the 

now walled-up B&b an Nabi, Gate of the Prophet. 
Q. Kubbat as Silsilah, Dome of the Chain. 
R. Kubbat al Mi'raj, Dome of the Ascension. 
S. Kubbat Jibrall, Dome of Gabriel. 
T. Kursi 'Isa, Throne of Jesus. 
U. Kubbat Sulaiman, Dome of Solomon. 
V. Kursl Sulaiman, Throne of Solomon. 

W, W. Mahd 'Isa, Cradle of Jesus, and the Stables of Solomon. 
X. Madrasah, or College, called Al Farisiyyah. 
Y. Jami' al Magharibah, or Mosque of the Moghrebins. 
Z. Baka'at al Baida, called incorrectly the Old AksS, in Crusading times 

the Armoury of the Templars. 




JERUSALEM (continued). 

The Gates of the Haram Area The Colonnades Size of the Haram Area 
The Tanks and Pools. 

The CJnirch of the Resurrection : The Miracle of the Holy Fite The 
Garden of Gethsemane The Tomb of the Virgin Pater Noster Church 
and Bethany The Church of the Ascension and of the Jacobites The 
Church of Sion and Gallicantus. 

City Gates: The Castle Wadi Jahannum and the Tomb of Absalom. 

The Plain, As Sahirah : The Pool of Siloam The Well of Job- 
Cavern of Korah. 


IN the identification of the Gates leading into the Haram Area, 
named in the various authorities, I cannot do better than quote 
verbatim from a paper contributed by Colonel Sir C. Wilson to the 
Palestine Exploration Fund "Quarterly Statement" for July, 1888 
(p. 141), which is also inserted as Appendix C to my translation 
of Nasir-i-Khusrau's Diary, published in the Palestine Pilgrim 
Texts. In these proposed identifications I thoroughly concur, and 
take this opportunity of expressing how much I feel indebted to 
Sir C. Wilson for the aid he has afforded me in clearing up this 
somewhat knotty point. 

Before, however, entering on the subject of the identification of 
the Gates, it will be convenient to recapitulate the lists given by 
Ibn al Fakih, and Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, our two earliest authorities. 
Following this will come Mukaddasi's list, then Nasir-i-Khusrau's 
detailed notice of the Gates in 1047, after which we shall be in a 
position to discuss the identification of the various names recorded 
of the ancient Gates with those that at present exist. 

Ibn al Fakih, 903, and Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, 913, the two earliest 
authorities, do not apparently attempt to name the Gates in order, 


but only at haphazard and incidentally to the general account of 
the Domes and Mihrabs of the Haram Area. These Gates they 
mentioned are the following (see above, pp. 161-164) : 


Bab Baud. Bab Baud. 

Bab Sulaiman. 

Bab Hittah. Bab Hittah. 

Bab an Nabi. Bab Muhammad. 

Bab at Taubah. Bab at Taubah. 

Bab al Wad!. 

Bab ar Rahmah. Bab ar Rahmah. 

Abwab al Asbat. Abwab al Asbat 

(six in number). 
Bab Dar Umm Khalid. 

Bab al Walid. 

Bab al Hashimi. 

Bab al Khidr. 

Bab as Sakinah. 

The next list is that given by Mukaddasi in 985. He writes : 
" The Haram Area is entered through thirteen openings, closed 
by a score of Gates. These are : 

(1) The Bab Hittah (the Gate of Remission). 

(2) The two Gates of the Prophet. 

(3) The Gates of the Mihrab Maryam 

(the Gates of Mary's Oratory). 

(4) The two Gates Ar Rahmah (of Mercy). 

(5) The Gate of the Birkat (Pool of) Bani Israil. 

(6) The Gates Al Asbat (of the Tribes). 

(7) The Hashimite Gates. 

(8) The Gate of Al Walid. 

(9) The Gate of Ibrahim (Abraham). 

(10) The Gate of Umm Khalid (the Mother of Khalid). 
(IT) The Gate Baud (David)." (Muk., 170.) 

. In his eulogy on the beauties of Jerusalem, Mukaddasi further 
mentions " the Bab as Sakinah (The Gate of the Shechinah) 


and the Kubbat as Silsilah (the Dome of the Chain)." 
(Muk., 151.) 

Between Mukaddasi's descriptions in 985, and Nasir's visit in 
1047, the earthquakes occurred which so seriously damaged the 
Aksa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. (See p. 101.) The 
Gates doubtless also suffered damage ; the walls of the Haram 
Area, as we know from the inscriptions (see p. 101), were cer- 
tainly in part overthrown ; and when the Gateways were rebuilt 
after the earthquakes, they presumably were given in some cases 
new names. 

Nasir-i-Khusrau writes of the Gates in the following terms : 

" The Area of the Noble Sanctuary is paved with stone, the 
joints being set in lead. 

(i.*) "As we have said before, the Haram Area lies in the eastern 
part of the city ; and through the bazaar of this (quarter) you 
enter the Area by a great and beautiful gateway, that measures 
30 ells (60 feet) in height, by 20 across. The gateway has 
two wings, in which open halls, and the walls of both gateway 
and halls are adorned with coloured enamels, set in plaster, cut 
into patterns so beautiful that the eye becomes dazzled in contem- 
plating them. Over the gateway is an inscription, which is set 
in the enamels, giving the titles of the Sultan (who is the Fatimite 
Khalif) of Egypt; and when the sun's rays fall on this it shines so 
that the sight is bewildered at the splendour thereof. There 
is also a great Dome that crowns this gateway, which is built 
of squared stones. Closing the gateway are two carefully-con- 
structed doors. These are faced with Damascene brass-work, 
which you would take to be gold, for they are gilt, and orna- 
mented with figured designs. Each of these doors is 15 ells 
(30 feet) in height, by 8 ells across. The gateway we have just 
described is called the Bab Daud (the Gate of David) peace 
be upon him ! 

"After passing this Gateway of David (and entering the 
Haram Area), you have, on the right, two great colonnades,! each 

* The roman numerals show the order of the gates as they occur in the 
walls, and are here added for purposes of reference. (See Plan facing p. 150 ) 

t These colonnades go along the western wall of the Haram Area (see 
p. 190). 


of which has nine-and-twenty marble pillars, whose capitals and 
bases are of coloured marbles, and the joints are set in lead. 
Above the pillars rise arches that are constructed of masonry 
without mortar or cement, and each arch is constructed of no 
more than five or six blocks of stone. These colonnades lead 
down to near the Maksurah (or Main-building of the Aksa 
Mosque).* On your left hand (as you enter the Gate of David), 
and towards the north, there is likewise a long colonnade with 
sixty-four arches, supported by marble pillars. 

(ii.) " In this part of the wall (that is, in the colonnade between 
the Gate of David and the north-west angle of the Haram Area) 
is the Gate called Bab as Sakar (Gate of Hell). 

(iv.) " In the north part (of the Haram Area) is a double gate- 
way, the Gates of which are placed side by side, each being 7 ells 
across, by 12 high. This gateway is called the Bab al Asbat (the 
Gate of the Tribes). 

(v.) " When you have passed this Gate of the Tribes, there is 
still another great gateway in the breadth of the Haram Area 
(or the North Wall) in the portion running eastward. There 
are here three Gates side by side, of a like size to the Bab al 
Asbat, and they are each fashioned in iron, and adorned with 
brass, than which nothing can be finer. These (three) gates they 
call the Bab al Abwab (the Gate of Gates), for the reason that, 
whereas elsewhere the gateways are only double, there is here 
a triple gateway. 

"Running along the north part of the Haram Area, and 
between the two gateways just mentioned, is a colonnade, with 
arches that rest on solid pillars ; and adjacent thereto, a Dome that 
is supported by tall columns, and adorned with lamps and 
lanterns. This is called Kubbat Ya'kub (the Dome of Jacob) 
peace be upon him ! for at this spot was his place of prayer. 

(iii.) "And further along the breadth (or Northern Wall) 
of the Haram Area is a colonnade, in the wall of which is a Gate 
that leads to two Cloisters belonging to the Sufis, who have their 

* The Main-building of the Aksa Mosque is often referred to by Nasir under 
the denomination of the " Maksurah," which more properly is the name given 
to the railed oratory for the Sultan which the Mosque contains. 


place of prayer here, and have built a fine Mihrab (or oratory). 
There are always in residence a number of Sufis, who make this 
(oratory) the place of their daily devotions ; except on Friday, 
when they go into the Noble Sanctuary, in order to attend the 
service of prayer therein. At the north (west?) angle of the 
Haram Area is a fine colonnade, with a large and beautiful Dome. 
On this Dome* there is an inscription, stating that this was 
the Oratory (Mihrab) of Zakariyya the Prophet peace be upon 
him ! for they say that he was wont to continue ceaselessly in 
prayer at this spot. 

(vi.) " In the Eastern Wall of the Haram Area there is a great 
gateway skilfully built of squared stones, so that one might almost 
say that the whole was carved out of a single block. Its height is 
50 ells (100 feet), and its width 30, and it is sculptured and orna- 
mented throughout. There are ten beautiful doors in this gateway 
(set so close) that between any two of them there is not the space 
of a foot These doors are all most skilfully wrought in iron and 
Damascene brass-work, set in with bolts and rings. They say this 
gateway was constructed by Solomon, son of David peace be 
upon him ! to please his father. When you enter this gateway, 
facing east, there are two great doors. The one on your right 
hand is called Bab ar Rahman (the Gate of Mercy), and the other 
Bab at Taubah (the Gate of Repentance) ; and they say of this 
last that it is the Gate where God be He exalted and glorified ! 
accepted the repentance of David upon whom be peace ! 

"Near this gateway is a beautiful Mosque. f In former times it 
was only a hall, but they turned the hall into a Mosque. It 
is spread with all manner of beautiful carpets, and there are 
servants especially appointed thereto. This spot is greatly 
frequented of the people, who go to pray therein, and seek com- 
munion with God be He exalted and glorified ! for this being 
the place where David peace be upon him ! was vouchsafed 
repentance, other men may hope to be turned likewise from their 

* Of this building no trace now exists. See p. 169. 

t" This I understand to refer to a building occupying the position of what is 
now known as Kursi Sulaiman, the Throne of Solomon (Plan facing p. 172, at V). 



After describing the Mosque of the Cradle of Jesus and the 
Great Aksa Mosque (see pp. 105, 166), Nasir continues : 

" Beyond the Main-building (of the Aksa), along the great 
(south) wall (of the Haram Area) afore-mentioned, rises a colon- 
nade of two-and-forty arches,* the columns being all of coloured 
marble. This colonnade joins the one that is along the west (wall 
of the Area). Inside the Main-building (of the Aksa) there is a 
tank in the ground, which, when the cover is set on, lies level 
with the floor, and its use is for the rain-water, which, as it comes 
down, drains therein. 

( " In the south wall (of the Haram Area) is a gate 
leading to the places for the ablution, where there is running 
water. When a person has need to make the ablution (before 
prayer), he goes down to this place, and accomplishes what is 
prescribed ; for had the place (of ablution) been set without the 
walls, by reason of the great size of the Haram Area, no one 
could have returned in time, and before the appointed hour for 
prayer had gone by. 

"As I have written above, the Holy City stands on the summit 
of a hill, and its site is not on level ground. The place, however, 
where the Noble Sanctuary stands is flat and on the level ; but 
without the Area the enclosing wall varies in height in different 
places, seeing that where the fall is abrupt, the Haram wall is 
the highest, for the foundation of the wall lies at the bottom of 
the declivity ; and where the ground mounts, the wall, on the 
other hand, has, of need, been built less high. Wherever, in the 
city itself and in the suburbs, the level is below that in the Haram 
Area, they have made gateways, like tunnels cut through the 
ground, that lead up into the Court (of the Noble Sanctuary). 

(viii.) "One such as these is called Bab an Nabi (or the Gate 
of the Prophet) peace and blessing be upon him ! which opens 
towards the Kiblah point that is, towards the south. (The 
passage-way of this gate) is 10 ells broad, and the height varies 
by reason of the steps. In one place it is 5 ells high, and in 

* See p. 191. This is in the space afterwards occupied by the Hall erected 
by the Knights Templars for their armoury, and which at the present day opens 
from the Aks, Mosque, and is called Baka'at al Baidha, or Aksa al Kadimah. 


others the roof of the passage-way is 20 ells above you. Over 
this passage-way has been erected the Main-building of the (Aksa) 
Mosque ; for. the masonry is so solidly laid, that they have been 
able to raise the enormous building that is seen here without any 
damage arising to what is below. They have made use of stones 
of such a size, that the mind cannot conceive how, by human 
power, they were carried up and set in place. It is said, however, 
that the building was accomplished by Solomon, the son of David 
peace be upon him ! The Prophet peace and blessing be 
upon him ! on the night of his ascent into heaven, passed into 
the Noble Sanctuary through this passage-way, for the gateway 
opens on the road from Makkah. Near it, in the wall, is seen the 
imprint on the stone of a great shield. It is said to be that of 
Hamzah ibn 'Abd al Mutallib, the Prophet's uncle peace be 
upon him ! who once seated himself here with his shield slung 
on his back, and, leaning against the wall, left the mark of the 
same thereon. This gateway of the Haram leading into the 
tunnelled passage-way is closed by a double-leafed door, and the 
wall of the Haram Area outside it is of a height of near upon 50 
ells. The reason for the piercing of this gateway was to enable 
the inhabitants of the suburb lying obliquely beyond to enter the 
Haram Area at their pleasure without having to pass through 
other quarters of the city. To the right of this gateway there is 
in the wall a block of stone 1 1 * cubits high and 4 cubits across ; 
and this is larger than any of the other stones of the wall, 
although there are many that measure 4 and 5 ells across, set in 
the masonry at a height of 30 and 40 ells." 

(vii.) " In the width of the Haram Area there is a gate, open- 
ing towards the east, called Bab al 'Ain (or the Gate of the Spring), 
passing out from which you descend a declivity to the Spring of 
Silwan (Siloam)." 

(ix.) "There is also another gate, the passage-way of which is 
excavated in the ground, and it is called Bab al Hittah (the Gate 
of Remission). They say that this is the gate by which God be 
He exalted and glorified ! commanded the children of Israel to 
enter the Noble Sanctuary, according to His word be He 

* Other MSS. read " fifteen." These are the stones in the Great Course. 

12 2 


exalted ! (in the Kuran, chapter ii. 55) : ' Enter ye the gate with 
prostrations, and say (Hittah), Remission! and We will pardon 
you your sins, and give an increase to the doers of good.' " 

(i.#.) "There is still another gate (to the Haram Area), and it 
is called Bab as Sakinah (the Gate of the Shechinah, or Divine 
Presence) ; and in the hall adjacent thereto is a mosque that has 
many Mihrabs (or prayer-niches). The door of the entrance 
thereof is barred, so that no one can pass through. They say 
that the Ark of the Shechinah, which God be He exalted and 
glorified ! has alluded to in the Kuran, was once placed here, 
but was borne away by angels. The whole number of gates, both 
upper and lower, in the Noble Sanctuary of the Holy City is nine, 
as we have here enumerated them." (N. Kh., pp. 29-32, 39-43.) 

The key to the puzzle presented by the varied nomenclature of 
the gates of the Haram Area cannot be better given than in Sir 
C. Wilson's own words. He writes : 

'A comparison of the descriptions of Mukaddasi (985 A.D.) 
and Nasir-i-Khusrau (1047 A.D.) with each other, and with the 
description of Mujir ad Din (1496 A.D.) and existing remains, 
enables me to identify many of the gates with some degree of 
certainty, and to show that a change took place in the Arab 
nomenclature of the gates between the eleventh and fifteenth 
centuries possibly when Jerusalem was captured by Saladin. 
Nasir describes the Bab an Nabi (Gate of the Prophet) beneath 
the Mosque Al Aksa in such terms as to leave no doubt of 
its identification with the double gateway and passage leading 
upwards from it beneath the Mosque to the Haram Area. He 
also mentions another gate Bab Hittah (Gate of Remission) 
as being excavated in the ground; and the only known 
gate of the Haram of this character is the closed Gate of 
Muhammad, or of the Prophet, beneath the Bab al Magharibah. 
If, now, we turn to Mukaddasi's list of gates, we find that he 
commences with Bab Hittah, that his second gate is * the two 
Gates of the Prophet,' and that he ends with the Gate Daud, 
which is, without dispute, the Bab as Silsilah (the Gate of the 
Chain) of the present day. The inference I draw from this is that 
Mukaddasi named the gates in order, commencing with the Bab 

i -b; .n 

u i> i-ib i ' ',- .^'.'J-uk" liKifcrff 

o o 





Hittah, and ending with the Bab Baud, and not, as might have 
been supposed, at haphazard. 

'In attempting to identify the Gates with those which now 
exist, it is necessary to bear in mind that the Haram Area, with 
its buildings and the approaches to it, has been much altered at 
various periods, as, for instance, during the Latin kingdom, after 
the recapture of the city by the Saracens, and when the walls 
were rebuilt by the Sultan Sulaiman in the sixteenth century.' 

Taking the list in the order given by Mukaddasi, and beginning 
with the Bab Hittah, we must reverse the order of Nasir's enumera- 
tion, who, entering at the Bab Daud, and turning to the left, takes 
the Gates in the contrary order to that we shall now follow. 
To the description given by Nasir (already quoted) are here 
added the few notes taken from later authorities, ending with what 
Suyuti, writing in 1470, has to tell of the history of the Gates 
after their restoration at the hands of Saladin's successors. 
Suyuti's description has been copied verbatim by Mujir ad Din, 
who has added nothing to what he has borrowed without acknow- 
ledgment from his predecessor. The substance of the proposed 
identifications here following is taken from Sir C. Wilson's paper 
referred to above. 

Mukaddasi's Bab Hittah (i)* (Gate of Remission) is the 
Bab al Hittah (ix.) of Nasir, described (above, p. 179) as 
" excavated in the ground." Ibn al Fakih and Ibn 'Abd 
Rabbih both mention this Bab Hittah (see p. 174). After 
the Crusaders, however, it appears to have changed its name, and 
the old Bab Hittah can only be identified with the present Bab 
al Burak, or Bab an Nabi Muhammad (often called " Barclay's 
Gate "), which lies half underground, and which may now be 
entered beneath the modern Bab al Magharibah. Of the present 
Bab al Magharibah above this ancient Gate, Suyuti writes as 
follows : " Bab al Magharibah (the Gate of the Mogrebins or 
Western Africans) is so called from its being in the neighbour- 
hood of the Gate of the Mosque of the Mogrebins, where 

* The Arabic numerals (i) to (n), and the Roman numerals (i.) to (ix.) 
refer respectively to Mukaddasi's and Nasir's enumeration of the Gates given 
on pp. 174-180. 


they have their prayers. The quarter named from this Gate 
lies at the south-eastern corner of the City. This Gate is also 
called Bab an Nabi (the Gate of the Prophet)." (S., 268 ; 
M. a. D., 383.) 

Mukaddasi's " Two Gates of the Prophet " (2) (with Ibn al 
Fakih's Bab an Nabi and Ibn 'Abd Rabbih's Bab Muhammad) 
must correspond with Nasir's " Gate of the Prophet " (viii.), 
which is described as being like a tunnel in the South Wall, 
under the Aksa, and leading up by steps into the Court of the 
Haram Area (see p. 178). This Gate (viii.) is, doubtless, the 
same as that referred to (vm.a) by Nasir in another paragraph 
(p. 178) as "leading to the places for the ablution " remains 
of water-pipes and cells being still shown at this point in the sub- 
structures of the Aksa ; for the ancient Gate of the Prophet under 
the Aksa can only be the so-called Double Gate> long since Availed 
up, but still to be seen closing the southern side of the vaults 
under the Aksa.* These vaults in Mujir ad Din's time (1496) 
were known as Al Aksa al Kadimah, the Ancient Aksa. 
(M. a. D., 379.) As late as the date of Ibn Batutah's visit, 
in 1355, if we are t believe that travellers account, the gateway 
here was still open. He writes : " On three sides (of the Haram 
Area) are many Gates, but on the Kiblah (or south) side it has, as 
far as I know, only one Gate, which is that by which the 
Imam enters." (I. B., i. 121.) This Gate is not mentioned 
by either Suyuti or Mujir ad Din. 

Mukaddasi's "Gates of the Mihrab Maryam " (3) must have 
stood close to the Mihrab of Mary (now called the Cradle of 
Jesus), mentioned by the same authority (see p. 165); these 
Gates apparently correspond with the Bab al 'Ain (the Gate of 
the Spring), described by Nasir (vii.), by which one could go 
down to Siloam (see p. 179). The ancient "Single Gate," or 
perhaps with greater probability the ancient "Triple Gate" both 
in the eastern part of the South Wall, and leading to the sub- 

* The illustration opposite shows the present appearance of this ancient 
passage-way. The view is taken from a point immediately within the walled- 
u p gateway in the South Wall. The illustrations facing pp. 177 and 181 show 
the position and present appearance of the Double Gate from without. 








structures of the " Cradle of Jesus " and the " Stables of Solomon," 
and both of which Gates are now walled up must, one or the 
other, be the modern representative of this Gate. The Templars, 
as before noted, stabled their horses in these substructures ; and 
after Saladin's conquest of the Holy City, all means of egress 
from the Haram Area, except west and north through the city, 
being closed, all these Gates then came to be walled up.* 

Ibn al Fakih speaks of a Bab al Wadi (see p. 161), which, 
from its name, would appear likely to have opened on the 
Wadi Jahannum (Kedron), on the east of the Haram Area. In 
this part of the Haram Wall, and somewhat to the south of 
the " Golden Gate," may still be seen a walled-up door, which 
probably occupies the position of the gateway mentioned by 
Ibn al Fakih. Of this walled-up Gate, Mujir ad Din notes as 
follows : "In the Eastern Wall of the Haram Area, to the south 
of the Gates of Mercy and Repentance, is a fine Gate now closed 
with masonry. It lies opposite the steps leading down from 
the Platform (of the Dome of the Rock) called Daraj (the Steps 
of) al Burak. Some say this was the Gate al Burak by which the 
Prophet entered on the occasion of his Night Journey. It was 
also formerly called Bab al Janaiz (the Gate of the Funerals), for 
the funerals went out by it in ancient times." (M. a. D., 380.) 

Apparently somewhere in this part of the wall there was yet 
another Gate, called the Gate of Jericho not to be confounded 
with the City Gate of that name (see p. 214), now called the 
(iate of St. Stephen. Mujir ad Din speaks of this Gate of 
Jericho as near the spot where Muhammad ibn Kurram founder 
of the Kurramite sect was buried in 255 (869). He adds : 
" The Gate known as the Gate of Jericho has disappeared 
long ago, and since the Frank occupation there is no trace 
of it. Apparently it must originally have opened at a place near 
the further end of the houses that are towards the Mount of 
Olives." (M. a. D., 262.) 

Ibn al Fakih's and Ibn 'Abd Rabbih's Bab ar Rahmah, and the 

The accompanying illustrations show the present appearance of these 
two walled-up Gates, the position of which in the South Wall is shown in the 
illustration facing p. 177. 


" Two Gates Ar Rahmah " of Mukaddasi (4), are the Bab ar 
Rahmah and the Bab at Taubah (vi.) of Nasir (see p. 177), 
namely, the great closed gateway in the East Wall, known at the 
present day to Europeans as the Golden Gate.* This Gateway 
is still known to the Muslims under the name of the Gates of 
Mercy and Repentance. Suyuti's account of it is as follows : 

" The Bab ar Rahmah (the Gate of Mercy) lies to the east of 
the Aksa Mosque, and is in the wall of which Allah has made 
mention in the words (of the Kuran, Ivii. 13): 'But between 
them (the Hypocrites and the Believers on the Judgment day) 
shall be set a wall with a gateway, within which is Mercy, 
while without the same is the Torment.' The valley which 
lies beyond this Gate is the Wadi Jahannum. The Gate of 
Mercy itself is inside the wall which encloses the Haram Area, 
and the Gate referred to in the above verse of the Kuran as on 
the Wadi Jahannum, is now closed, and will only be opened at 
some future time, and by the will of Allah be He exalted ! 
And as to Bab at Taubah (the Gate of Repentance), it joins and 
makes one with the Gate of Mercy, but through neither of them 
at the present day do men pass. Near the Gate of Repentance, 
and thus between the Gate of Mercy and the Gate of the Tribes, 
is the house (Maskin) of Al Khidr and Iliyas (St. George and 
Elias)." (S., 265 ; M. a. D., 380.) 

This, the so-called Golden Gate, according to M. de Vogue (Le 
Temple de Jerusalem, p. 68), who judges from the architectural 
character of the building, dates from Byzantine times only, and, 
in fact, was probably completed as late as the sixth century A.D. 
The denomination of the " Golden Gate " does not occur ap- 
parently before the thirteenth century (Saewulf), and the name 
(Porta Aurea) is due to a misunderstanding by the mediaeval 
pilgrims, whose knowledge of Greek was rudimentary, of vpa 
upaia, "the gate called Beautiful," mentioned, in Acts iii. 2, as 
the spot where St. Peter healed the lame man. The site of this 
miracle, which must, from the context, have been performed near 
one of the inner gates of the Temple, the early pilgrims and the 
Crusaders, proceeding in their usually arbitrary manner, saw fit to 
locate at this Byzantine structure. 

* See the illustration facing p. 177. 


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Mukaddasi's "Gate of the Birkat Bani Israil " (5) must be 
the easternmost gate in the north wall of the Harain Area, 
which Nasir (see p. 176) calls the Bab al Abwab (the Gate of 
Gates) (v.), and which, since Crusading days, has always been 
known as the Bab al Asbat (the Gate of the Tribes). Suydti 
writes of this gate as follows : " Bab al Asbat (the Gate of the 
Tribes) is in the hinder (or northern) part of the Haram Area, not 
far from the house of Al Khidr and Iliyas (St. George and Elias). 
In the work called Fadail Bait al Mukaddas (the ' Excellences of 
the Holy City'), by the Hafidh Abu Bakr al Wasiti the Khatib, 
there is mention made of the Bab Maskin al Khidr (the Gate of 
Al Khidr's house) as standing here ; but the author of the Muthir 
al Ghiram gives no indication of any such gate having existed, 
although he mentions the house of Al Khidr when enumerating 
the saints who entered and sojourned in the Holy City. The 
author of the Kitdb al Uns, on the authority of Shahr ibn Jaushab, 
states that the house of Al Khidr is in the Holy City, at a spot 
between the Gate of Mercy and the Gate of the Tribes ; and he 
goes on to say that Al Khidr was wont to pray every Friday in 
five different mosques namely, in the Mosque of Makkah, and 
the Mosque of Al Madinah, and the Mosque of Jerusalem, and 
the Mosque of Kuba (two miles south of Al Madinah), and on 
every Friday night in the Mosque of Sinai." (S., 266 ; M. a. D., 


From the preceding paragraph it naturally follows that the Gate 
of the Tribes (Bab al Asbat) mentioned by Ibn al Fakih and 
Ibn 'Abd Rabbih (pp. 161, 164), also the gate of this name men- 
tioned by Mukaddasi (6), and (iv.) described by Nasir (see p. 176) 
as opening in the north wall west of the " Gate of Gates," must 
be identified with the gate, now and ever since Crusading times 
called Bab al Hittah (the Gate of Remission). Suyuti, as will 
be seen, applies to this (northern) gate (writing in 1470) the 
legendary account which Nasir (in 1047) related anent the more 
ancient Bab Hittah at the south-west corner of the Haram Area. 
Suyuti writes : "Bab Hittah (the Gate of Remission) is so called 
because the children of Israel were directed to enter their house 
of prayer thereby, saying, 'Remission, O Lord, for our sins.' 
The following is given on the uthority of 'Ali ibn Sallam ibn 


'Abd as Sallam, who was told by his father that he had heard Abu 
Muhammad ibn 'Abd as Sallam state as follows namely, that the 
Brazen Gate,* which is in the (Aksa) Mosque, is the (celebrated) 
Bab al Hamal al Ausat (the middle Ram Gate), and is of the 
workmanship of the Chosroes ; and that the brazen gate which 
closes the (main) gateway f of the Haram Area is the Gate of 
David, through which he was wont to pass, going from Sion to 
Solomon's Market-place ; while, lastly, the gate of the gateway 
known at present (in 1470) as the Bab Hittah(Gate of Remission) 
was formerly at Jericho, which city having come to ruin, the gate 
was transported from thence to the Noble Sanctuary." (S., 267 ; 
M. a. D., 381.) 

The Hashimite Gates mentioned by Mukaddasi (7), and possibly 
the gate of the same name (but noted in inversed order) given by 
Ibn 'Abd Rabbih (see p. 164), most probably correspond to the 
gate (iii.) said by Nasir (p. 176) to lead to the Cloisters of the 
Sufis, and to open in the north wall west of his (Nasir's) Bab al 
Asbat. It would, therefore, correspond with the modern Bab al 
'Atm (Gate of the Darkness), which Suyuti notes was, in his day 
(as at the present time), also called " Bab Sharaf al Anbiya (the 
Gate of the Glory of the Prophets). It is that now, further, 
called Bab ad Dawidariyyah.:}: It opens from the northern side 
of the Haram Area." (S., 267 ; M. a. D., 382.) 

Mukaddasi's Bab al Walid (8) (mentioned, but in different 
order, by Ibn 'Abd Rabbih) is possibly the present Bab al 
Ghawanimah (the northernmost in the west wall), of which Suyuti 
speaks in the following terms. That, as he states, it was anciently 
called the Gate of Abraham does not, however, correspond with 
what follows in Mukaddasi, where the next gate (lying to the 
south, presumably, of the Bab al Walid) is called the Bab Ibrahim. 
Possibly, however, the names had become interchanged, as we 
have already seen was the case in other instances. Suyuti's 
description is as follows : " Bab al Ghawanimah (the Gate of the 

* See p. 99. t The present Bab as Silsilah. 

+ The Dawidariyyah is the house of the Dawidar more correctly the 
Dawat-dur or Secretary, a Persian word signifying " he who carried the ink- 
stand." It is also spelt Duwaidariyyah. 


Men of the Family of Ghanim*) is that adjoining the Lieutenant's 
Palace (the Dar an Niyabah). It is the first .(or northernmost) on 
the western side of the Haram Area. Anciently, it is said, this 
gate was called Bab al Khalil (the Gate of Abraham * the Friend ')." 
(S., 267; M. a. D, 383.) 

Mukaddasi's Bab Ibrahim (9), if the foregoing identification be 
accepted, would then correspond with the Bab as Sakar (Gate of 
Hell), which Nasir (ii.) states is the only one opening, in his 
day, in the west wall to the north of the Balp Daud. (See 
p. 176.) This is apparently the modern Bab an Nadhir (the Gate 
of the Inspector), of which Suyuti writes to the following effect : 
u Bab an Nadhir (the Gate of the Inspector) is a gate that is said 
never to have been restored. Anciently, it was called Bab Mikail 
(the Gate of Michael) ; and, according to report, it is the gate to 
which Gabriel tied the steed Al Burak on the occasion of the 
Night Journey." (S., 267 ; M. a. D, 383.) 

South of this gate, in the present western wall of the Haram 
Area, is one built, presumably, since Saladin's days, since no 
notice occurs of it in the more ancient writers. Suyuti speaks of 
it by the name it bears at the present day. He writes : 

" Bab al Hadid (the Iron Gate) is one that has been rebuilt (or 
recently built). Anciently, it was called after Arghun al Kamili,+ 
who founded the Madrasah (or college) of the Arghuniyyah, 
which lies on the left hand as you go out through it." (S., 268 ; 
M. a. D., 383.) 

Mukaddasi's "Gate of the Mother of Khalid " (10) (called 
Dar Umm Khalid, of the House of Khalid's Mother, by Ibn al 
Fakih) is probably the modern Bab al Kattanin (the Gate 
of the Cotton Merchants' Bazaar) ; or it might possibly be 
the gate to the north of this, called the Bab al Hadid, just 
described; but this latter identification is the less likely of 
the two. Suyuti writes of the first-mentioned gate : " Bab al 
Kattanin (the Gate of the Cotton Merchants) is one of those that 
has been restored. Al Malik an Nasir ibn Kala'un was the prince 

* Descendants of Shaikh Ghnim ibn 'Ali, who was born near N&bulus in 
562 (1167), and died in 632 at Damascus. Saladin made him chief of the 
Khftnkah Saliihiyyah, the Derwish house founded by him at Jerusalem. 

t Lieuienant of Syria. He died in 758 (1357). 


who first built it ; but it afterwards fell into complete ruin and 
disuse. When the late Naib (Lieutenant) of Syria, Tankiz an 
Nasiri,* built the colonnade which runs all along the western wall 
of the Noble Sanctuary, and the Suk al Kattanin (the Cotton 
Market), he rebuilt, at the same time, this gate with the high 
portal, seen here at the present day." (S., 268 ; M. a. D., 238.) 

Immediately to the south of the above comes the Gate known 
at the present day as Bab al Mutawadda (the Gate of the 
Ablutions), or Al Matarah (Gate of Rain). This is a gateway 
opened since Crusading time, and which Suyuti speaks of under 
the name of the Gate of the Reservoir. He writes : " Bab as 
Sikkayah (the Gate of the Reservoir) is said to be an ancient 
Gate. It had fallen to ruin of recent years, but when the late 
'Ala ad Din Al Busirf constructed the tank for the ablution, which 
he gave the people, he rebuilt, too, this Gate. May it not be 
allowed to fall again into decay!" (S., 268; M. a. D., 383.) 

Lastly comes Mukaddasi's Bab Daud (n), the Great Gate of 
David, by which Nasir (i.) begins his enumeration on entering the 
Haram Area. It is now known as the Bab as Silsilah (the Gate 
of the Chain). The adjoining Bab as Salam (Gate of Peace) is 
that alluded to by Mukaddasi (see p. 174) in his preface as 
the Bab as Sakinah, and described under the same name (\.a) 
by Nasir (see p. 180) as having a hall and place of prayer 
with many Mihrabs. Of these last, no traces remain at the 
present day. These two Gates Suyuti speaks of in the following 
words : " Bab as Silsilah (the Gate of the Chain), and the Bab as 
Sakinah, stand side by side. The Bab as Silsilah was anciently 
called the Bab Datid (David's Gate). Bab as Sakinah (the Gate 
of the Shechinah or Divine Presence) opens near the Gate of the 
Madrasah (or College), called Al Baladiyyah ; and close by it 
also is the Southern Minaret. The Royal College, called Al 
Madrasah al Ashrafiyyah, lies to the north of the same." (S., 268 ; 
M. a. D, 383.) 

The following table shows in a concise manner the proposed 
identifications of the various Gates of the Haram Area : 

* Tankiz al Hisami or An Nasiri was Lieutenant of Syria under Sultan An 
Nasir Muhammad ibn Kala'un. Tankiz died 741 (1340). 
t He died in 1291 A.D. See M. a. D., p. 606. 



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The colonnades running along the inner side of the boundary 
walls of the Haram Area would appear to have stood, in the early 
Muslim days, very much in the same positions which they now 
occupy. Our earliest notice of them is in Mukaddasi, who says 
(see p. 99) that " on the right hand " (that is, along the West 
Wall) ran colonnades, as also "at the back" (that is, along the 
North W T all) of the Haram Area were colonnades, the ceilings of 
which are described as studded with mosaics. 

The East W^all of the Haram Area, overhanging the Wadi Jahan- 
num, and in which stands the Golden Gate, is stated to have no colon- 
nades along it. Neither was there any colonnade along the portion 
of the South Wall extending from the south-east angle (above the 
Cradle of Jesus) to the Eastern Wall of the Aksa. From these 
particulars it is evident that in Mukaddasi's days the Haram Area, 
as far as the lateral colonnades are concerned, showed exactly 
the appearance to be seen at the present day. Mukaddasi also 
states the reasons (p. 99) why the Aksa was not placed sym- 
metrically in the centre of the South Wall of the Haram Area. 

The Persian traveller, Nasir-i-Khusrau (1047), gives us more 
exact details of these colonnades, which agree very exactly with 
what Mukaddasi (985) has described. Along the West Wall 
Nasir states that to the right (south) of the Gate of David ran 
two great colonnades, each with twenty-nine marble pillars (sec 
p. 176). The two colonnades I understand to refer, the first, to 
that running from the Gate of David to the Gate Bab al Hittah 
(the present Bab al Magharibah) ; the second, from this last Gate 
down to the south-west angle, where it joined the colonnade of 
forty-two arches on the South Wall. (See Plan facing p. 150, 
/7, a and g.) To the left of the Gate of David, northwards up 
to the north-west angle, was a long colonnade of sixty-four arches. 
The Gate of David (the present Gate of the Chain) had beside it 
another Gate called the Bab as Sakinah (the Gate of the Shechinah, 
or Divine Presence), which led to a hall with a small mosque 
adjacent, in which were many oratories. (See p. 180.) Of this, 
apparently no traces remain at the present day; and Mukad 


dasi, sixty years before Nasir, makes no mention of it as having 
existed in his time. The North Wall of the Haram Area, which 
in Mukaddasi's days had colonnades roofed in mosaic work, had 
two sets of colonnades when seen by Nasir. From the Gate at 
the north-east angle (the present Bab al Asbat), which Nasir 
names the Bab al Abwab, westwards, to the next Gate, called by 
him the Bab al Asbat (at present the Bab Hittah), was "a colon- 
nade, with arches that rested on solid pillars." (Plan facing p. 150, 
at/) And westward of this Gate again, presumably extending as 
far as the north-west angle, and therefore joining the colonnade 
along the West Wall, were two colonnades (see p. 177, and Plan, 
at e and </), one beyond the other, in or near the westernmost of 
which was the " large and beautiful Dome " of Zachariah (Plan, W), 
of which, however, no traces remain at the present day. 

The West Wall of the Haram Area, overhanging the Wadi 
Jahannum, had no colonnade; and from the south-east angle, 
along the South Wall, " for a space of 200 ells (or 400 feet)," to 
the east wall of the Aksa, was (Nasir states), as at present, a bare 
wall. The only colonnade mentioned by Nasir, of which no 
mention is found in Mukaddasi, is that of " forty-two arches " 
running along the South Wall, west of the Aksa, from the 
western wall of the Mosque to the south-west angle of the Haram 
Area, where it joined the colonnade of the W T est Wall. (Plan, g.) 
This colonnade occupied the ground afterwards covered by the 
Armoury of the Templars. (Seep. 107.) 

After Nasir's visit came the century of the Crusades, and 
then Saladin's restorations. Our next authority is Mujir ad Din 
in 1496. He describes the colonnades he saw, and gives the 
dates of their building or restoration, as will be found in the 
following paragraphs : " The colonnades that go along the West 
Wall inside were all built during the reign of Al Malik an Nasir 
Muhammad ibn Kala'un (A.D. 1310-1341). The colonnade going 
from the Magharibah Gate to the Gate of the Chain was built in 
713 (1314); that running from the Minaret at the Gate of the 
Chain to the Gate of the Inspector in 737 (1336) ; that from the 
Gate of the Inspector to the Bab al Ghawanimah in 707 (1307). 
The colonnades along the north wall were erected at the time of 


the foundations of the respective buildings they flank." (M. a. D., 
376.) Since Mujir ad Din's days the colonnades must have been 
frequently repaired ; but, as seen at the present day, they are, to 
all intents, identical with those here described in 1496. (See 
Plan facing p. 172.) 


The dimensions of the Haram Area are given by many of the 
early authorities, some of whom apparently measured the great 
court for themselves, while some merely copied the inscription on 
a certain stone in the North Wall by whom set up is not known 
on which the dimensions are recorded. This stone was re- 
discovered by M. Clermont-Ganneau in 1874. The surface 
is, unfortunately, much corroded by the weather this was 
apparently the case even as early as the year 1351 and the 
inscription can, at the present day, be only partially deciphered. 
According to M. Ganneau's account, what may be clearly read is, 
in translation, the following : 

"/ the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful, the 
length of (the Haram Area of} the Mas/id is seven hundred and 
four-and-***ty ells, and its breadth four hundred and fize-and-fifty 
ells, the ell being the ell of ****." 

In M. Ganneau's opinion, the space for the word representing 
the tens, in the enumeration of the length, will only allow of its 
having been either eighty or thirty ; thus, in full, 784, or 734. 
Further, the specification of the Dhirtf, or ell, in M. Ganneau's 
opinion, cannot have been " al Malik," or the royal ell ; because 
the space available on the stone will not allow of the five letters of 
this word (in the Arabic) having been inscribed here ; also, he 
adds that such traces of letters as still remain do not correspond 
with the strokes of the Arabic letters in the w r ord "al Malik." 

The earliest mention of the exact dimensions of the Haram 
Area is found in the account (see p. 162) written by the 
Spanish Arab, Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, about the year 913. He 
gives no reference to the inscribed stone slab in the North Wall, 
but states the length of the Haram to be 784 ells, and the breadth 
455 ells > the e11 bein g " the Imam elL " Good MSS - of lbn ' Abd 


Rabhih's work are, however, wanting, and for the word " Imam " 
we have only the authority of the Cairo-printed edition to rely on, 
and this is far from unimpeachable. 

Ibn al Fakih and Mukaddasi, who are of the same century as 
the Spanish Arab, only give the dimensions of the Haram Area in 
round numbers, namely 1,000 ells by 700; and, according to Mukad- 
dasi, the ell was the royal Hashimite ell, which measured about 
18 inches in length. At this valuation we get 1,500 feet by 1,050 
feet for the length and breadth, the present measurements being, 
roughly length 1,500 feet, by 900 feet for the average breadth. 

The Persian traveller Nasir-i-Khusrau, who visited Jerusalem 
in 1047, is tne ft 1 " 5 * m so many words to mention the tablet M. 
Ganneau has rediscovered in the North Wall. Nasir's account is 
most circumstantial ; and, if the numbers in the Persian MS. of 

could be depended upon (and all the known 
agree in giving the same numbers), his testimony would settle the 
point of what was the length originally inscribed on the tablet ; 
for, in Nasir's days, the surface of the stone would appear to have 
been still undamaged. Nasir's account is as folio 

ie greater length of the Haram Area extends from north to 
south; but if the space occupied by the Maksurah (or Aksa 
Mosque) be deducted, the shape of the court is (roughly) square, 
with the Kiblah point lying towards the south. Now, it was my 
to obtain the measurements of the Haram Area, and I 
said to myself: First, I will come exactly to know the place in all 
its aspects, and see the whole thereof ; and afterwards will I take 
the measurements. But after passing some time in the Noble 
Sanctuary, and examining it, I came on an inscription upon a 
stone of an arch in the north wall (of the Haram Area), not far from 
the Dome of Jacob (Kubbat Va'kub) (Plan facing p. 150, X) on 
whom be peace ! In this inscription the length of the Haram 
was set down at 704 cubits (Ars/i), and the breadth at 455 
cubits of the royal measure. The royal ell (gez-i-malik) is the 
same as that which is known in Khurasan as the Gez-i-Shaigan 
(the king's ell), and is equivalent to ij (common) cubits (ars/i), 
or a fraction the less/'* (N. Kh., 28, 29, 31.) 

* In this pas-a^e gez (ell) and arsk (cubit) are again used as synonymous 
terras. See p. 128. 



The next authority, but one of no great weight in this matter, 
is Idrisi, who states that the Haram Area measures 200 Ba' (or 
fathoms), by 180 Ba', the B$ being "the space between the 
extremities of the two hands of a full-grown man when they are 
extended to the right and left." (See Lane's Dictionary, s. v.) 
Taking the Ba' at 6 feet, this would only give us 1,200 feet for the 
length, and 1,080 feet for the breadth. 

The testimony of 'Ali of Herat is of greater weight. He writes, 
describing the Haram Area in 1173: "I read on a stone the 
following inscription : ' The length (of the Haram Area round] the 
Mosque is 700 Royal e//s, and its breadth is 455.' This stone is 
to be seen built into the north wall of (the Haram Area that 
surrounds) the Aksa Mosque." (A. H., Oxf. MS., f. 37, 

From the close of the twelfth century (a few years before Sala- 
din's reconquest of Jerusalem), when 'Ali of Herat wrote, no other 
account has reached us of the dimensions of the Haram Area 
until the middle of the fourteenth century, when (in 1355) the 
traveller Ibn Batutah describes Jerusalem. His Diary was 
written out, many years after his return home, from notes, and 
hence it is not surprising to find that he puts the length (north to 
south) for the breadth (east to west) of the Haram Area, and vice 
versa. Whether he copied the figures from the tablet in the North 
Wall is not stated. After a general description of the Mosque 
at Jerusalem, Ibn Batutah continues : " They say there is no 
mosque anywhere larger than this. The length of the Haram 
Area from east to west is 752 ells of the Dhira/ al Malikiyyah. 
Its breadth from the Kiblah (south) to the north is 435 ells." 
(I. B.,i. 121.) 

The author of the Muthtr a I Ghiram is the first writer to 
mention that the tablet in the north wall, which he read, was, in 
his day, rendered somewhat illegible by the weathering of the 
stone. This was in 1351, a few years prior to Ibn Batutah 's visit. 
As will be noted, the words recording both the length and the 
breadth were, in 1351, clearly legible, and it was only the speci- 
fication of the ell that he could not decipher. The following 
passage from the author of the Muthir has been quoted or copied 


by many subsequent writers, notably by Suyuti in 1470, and by 
Mujir ad Din in 1496. The Arabic text (collated from several 
MSS in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris) is printed in the 
J. R. A. S., vol. xix., new series, at p. 305. The following is a 
translation : 

"It is stated by Ibn 'Asakir (died 1176) that the length of the 
Haram Area is 755 ells, and its breadth 465 ells, the ell being the 
royal ell (DhircC al Malik). And so also writes Abu'l Ma'ali al 
Musharraf in his. book. Now, I myself, in old times, have seen 
in the northern wall of the Haram Area, above the gateway which 
adjoins the Duwaidariyyah, and on the inner side of the wall, a 
slab on which was inscribed the length and the breadth of the 
Haram Area, and it differed from what these two authorities have 
stated. And what was inscribed on this slab was : Length 784 efts, 
breadth 455 ells. The inscription, further, gives the indication of 
the ell used ; but I am not sure whether this is the ell mentioned 
above (which is the royal ell) or some other, for the inscription 
has become indistinct. The Haram Area was measured in our 
days with a rope, and along the eastern wall it measured 683 ells, 
and along the western wall it measured 650 ells, while in the 
breadth (that is, along the northern and the southern walls) it 
measured 438 ells. These measurements being exclusive of the 
width of the outer walls." 

It is to be noted that the author of the Muthir fails to state 
what particular ell was the one used in the measurements made in 
his days. 

Mujir ad Din, who quotes the above (M. a. D., 251), states in a 
subsequent page (Cairo Text, p. 377) that he, himself, in the year 
1496, measured the Haram Area twice over to get the figures 
r\act. The ell was the workman's ell, that commonly in use in 
his day, the length of which is equivalent to about 2\ feet. 
Mujir ad Din's measurements are the following: 

" Length : From the South Wall at the Mihrab Daud, to the 
back of the colonnade on the North Wall near the Gate of the 
Tribes, is 660 ells. This is not counting the width of the outer 
walls. Width : From the Eastern Wall, where this overhangs the 
tombs that are outside the Gate of Mercy, to the back of the 



Western Colonnade below the Chambers of the Madrasah Tan- 
kiziyyah, is 406 ells." 

At the valuation given above, 660 workman's ells would equal 
1,485 feet, and 406 ells, 913! feet. 

The following list gives in chronological order a summary of 
the above measurements. When it is remembered that since 
Muslim days the South Wall of the Aksa Mosque (and therefore 
also of the Haram Area) has always occupied the position it does 
at the present day ; that the same may be said of the " Cradle of 
Jesus " in the south-east corner ; that Mukaddasi as early as 985 
mentions the Birkat Bani Israil, and therefore that the north-east 
angle cannot have changed its position since the ninth century ; 
and finally, that the Gates in the West Wall, many of them date 
from the first centuries of the Hijrah--it must be concluded that 
the boundaries of the Haram Area cannot have been much 
changed since the days of the Khalif 'Abd al Malik at the close 
of the seventh century of our era. The variation in the figures is 
doubtless in part due to the error of the copyists ; in part also to 
the variety of ell used, which ranged between the early Hashimite 
royal ell of ij feet, the later royal ell of about 2 feet, and the 
workman's ell of the fifteenth century, which measured about 
2\ feet. 

A.D. 903. Ibn al Fakih, in ells, 1,000 by 700. 

913. Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, "in Imam ells," 784 by 455. 

985. Mukaddasi, " in royal Hashimite ells," 1,000 by 700, 
equivalent to 1,500 feet by 1,050 feet. 

1047. Nasir-i-Khusrau. Inscription on North Wall, "in royal 
ells," read 704 by 455. 

1154. Idrisi, measurement in Ba' (fathom), 200 by 180, equiva- 
lent to 1,200 feet by 1,080 feet. 

1178. 'AH of Herat. Inscription on North Wall, "in royal 
ells," 700 by 455. 

1176. Ibn 'Asakir, as quoted by the author of the MutJv.r^ "in 
royal ells," 755 by 465. 

1351. The author of the Muthir al Ghiram. Inscription 
(query what ells), 784 by 455. 

Idem, by his own measurement : Eastern Wall, 683 ells ; 


Western Wall, 650 ells ; breadth, 438 ells. (Specification of ell 
not given.) 

1355. Ibn Batutah, "in royal ells," 752 by 435. (Length and 
breadth interchanged in error.) 

1496. Mujir ad Din, from his own measurements, in workman's 
ells (of about 2\ feet), 660 by 406 (equivalent to 1,485 feet and 

9'3i f eet). 

1874. M. Clermont Ganneau's reading of the inscription in the 
North Wall, length, 784 or 734; breadth, 455. This in ells that, 
according to his reading, cannot have been royal ells. 


The rock under the greater part of the Haram Area is, in 
various places, honeycombed with tanks used for storing water. 
They arc mentioned by many of the earlier writers. These 
reservoirs during the Middle Ages were fed by an aqueduct, 
bringing water from " Solomon's Pools '' in the Wadi Urtas, near 
Hebron, which aqueduct was originally constructed by Pontius 
Pilate (Josephus, Ant., xviii. 3, 2). Of the water-cisterns of the 
Noble Sanctuary, Nasir gives the following account : 

"The roofs of all the buildings in the Haram Area are covered 
with lead. Below the ground-level are numerous tanks and water- 
cisterns hewn out of the rock, for the Noble Sanctuary rests every- 
where on a foundation of live rock. There are so many of these 
cisterns that however much rain falls, no water flows away to 
waste, but all is caught in the tanks, whence the people come to 
draw it. They have constructed leaden conduits for carrying 
down the water, and the rock cisterns lie below these, with covered 
passages leading down thereto, through which the conduits pass to 
the tanks, whereby any loss of water is saved, and impurities are 
kept therefrom. 

" At a distance of three leagues from the Holy City, I saw a great 
water-tank (at Solomon's Pools), whereinto pour all the streams 
that flow down from the hills. From thence they have brought 
an aqueduct that comes out into the Noble Sanctuary. Of all 
parts of the Holy City this is where water is most plentiful. But 
in every house also, there is a cistern for collecting the rain-water 


for other than this water there is none and each must store the 
rain which falls upon his roof. The water used in the hot baths 
and other places is solely from the storage of the rains. The 
tanks that are below the Haram Area never need to be repaired, 
for they are cut in the live rock. Any place where there may 
have been originally a fissure or a leakage, has been so solidly 
built up that the tanks never fall out of order. It is said that 
these cisterns were constructed by Solomon peace be upon him ! 
The roofing of them is like that of a baker's oven (tann&r). Each 
opening is covered with a stone, as at a well-mouth, in order that 
nothing may fall therein. The water of the Holy City is sweeter 
than the water of any other place, and purer; and even when no 
rain falls for two or three days the conduits still run with water, 
for though the sky be clear, and there be no trace of clouds, the 
dew causes drops to fall."* (N. Kh., 39.) 

The great cistern, which is in part excavated under the Aksa 
Mosque, goes by the name of Bir al Warakah, the Well of the 
Leaf. To account for the name, a strange tradition is recounted 
(1470) by Suyuti, and copied by Mujir ad Din, and many later 
writers, which in substance reproduces the account given by Yakut 
(1225) in his Geographical Dictionary under the heading of Al 
Kalt. Yakut's version will be found translated in chapter vii.,f 
and may be compared with what is given here from Suyuti. 

"Now as to the tradition about the leaves (of Paradise), there 
are many and various accounts thereof. In the first place, from 
Abu Bakr ibn Abi Maryam, through 'Utayyah ibn Kais, comes the 
tradition that the Prophet said: 'Verily a man from among my 
people shall enter Paradise, walking upon his two feet (and come 
back again), and yet shall live.' Now during the Khalifate of 
'Omar, a caravan of men arrived at the Holy City to make their 
prayers there. And one of them, a man of the Bani Tamim, 
named Shuraik ibn Habashah, went off to get water (from the well). 
And his bucket falling down into the well, he descended and found 
a door there opening into gardens, and passing through the door 
into the gardens, he walked therein. Then he plucked a leaf from 
one of the trees, and placing it behind his ear, he returned to the 
* See p. 87, note. t See p. 292. 


well and mounted up again. And the man went to the Governor 
of the Holy City, and related to him of what he had seen in those 
gardens, and how he had come to enter therein. Then the Governor 
sent men with him to the well, and they descended, many people 
accompanying them, but they found not the door, neither did they 
attain to the gardens. And the Governor wrote to the Khalif 
'Omar concerning it all, recalling how it was reported on tradition 
that one of the people of Islam should enter the Garden of Paradise, 
and walk therein, on his two feet, and yet live. 'Omar wrote in 
answer : ' Look ye to the leaf, whether it be green and do not 
wither. If this be so, verily it is a leaf of Paradise, for naught of 
Paradise can wither or change ; and it is recorded in the aforesaid 
tradition of the Prophet that the leaf shall not suffer change.' 

" Another version of the tradition runs as follows : Shuraik ibn 
Habashah at Tamimi came into the Holy City to get water for 
his companions, and his bucket slipped from his hand, so he 
descended (into the well) to fetch it up. And a person called to 
him in the well, saying, * Come thou with me,' and, taking him by 
the hand, he brought him into the Garden of Paradise. Shuraik 
plucked two leaves, and the person then brought him back 
to where he had first found him. Then Shuraik mounted up out 
of the well, and when he rejoined his companions, he told them 
of all that had happened. The affair reached the ears of the 
Khalif 'Omar, and it was Ka'ab who remarked how it had 
been said (by the Prophet) a man of this people of Islam shall 
enter the Garden of Paradise, and yet lire, adding : ' Look ye 
to the leaves ; if they suffer change, then are they not the leaves 
of Paradise, and if they change not, then must they verily be of the 
leaves of Paradise.' And 'Utayyah asserts that the said leaves 
never after did suffer change. According to another tradition 
(coming from Al Walid), a certain Abu-n-Najm was Imam (leader 
of prayer) to the people of Salamiyyah, many of whom were of the 
desert tribes. And some of these people told him how they had 
themselves been well acquainted with Shuraik ibn Habashah 
when he was living at Salamiyyah. And they were wont to inquire 
of him concerning his entrance into the Garden of Paradise, and 
what he saw therein, and of how he had brought leaves there- 


from. And these people continued : ' We inquired further 
whether there yet remained by him any one of the leaves which he 
had plucked there ; and when he answered us affirmatively, we 
asked to see the leaf, and the man called for his Kuran, and took 
from between its pages a leaf that was entirely green, and gave it 
into our hands. When we had returned it to him, after laying it 
over his eyes, he placed it back again between the pages of 
his Kuran. And when he was at the point of death, he enjoined 
that we should put this leaf on his breast under the shroud, and his 
last words were to conjure us that this should exactly be done.' 
Al Walid continues : I inquired of Abu-n-Najm whether he had 
heard a description given of the leaf? He replied : ' Yes ; and it 
was like the leaf of a peach-tree (Dur&kin\ of the size of the 
palm of a hand, and pointed at the tip.' Suyuti adds : Now the 
mouth of the Well of the Leaf is in the Aksa Mosque, on the left 
hand as you enter by the door facing the Mihrab." (S., 270. The 
first tradition is copied by M. a. D., 368.) 

Besides the underground water-tanks of the Haram, there were 
three celebrated pools of water in the Holy City. Mukaddasi, 
in 985, writes : " There is water in Jerusalem in plenty. Thus it 
is a common saying, that there is no place in Jerusalem but where 
you may get water and hear the Call to Prayer ; and few are the 
houses that have not cisterns one or more. Within the city are 
three great tanks, namely, the Birkat Bani Israil, the Birkat 
Sulaiman, and the Birkat Tyad. In the vicinity of each of these 
are baths, and to them lead the water-channels from the streets. 
In the Mosque Area there are twenty underground cisterns of 
vast size, and there are few quarters of the city that have not 
public cisterns, though the contents of these last is only the rain- 
water that drains into them from the streets. At a certain valley, 
about a stage from the Holy City, they have gathered together 
the waters, and made there two pools, into which the torrents of 
the winter rains flow. From these two reservoirs there are 
channels, bringing the water to the City, which are opened during 
the spring in order to fill the tanks under the Haram Area, and 
also those in other places." (Muk., 167.) 

The notice of these three pools, mentioned by Mukaddasi 


as within the city precincts, is copied by succeeding writers, who 
make no attempt at any identification of the two last mentioned. 
The first, the Pool of the Children of Israel, is the well-known 
tank called by the same name at the present day, which lies outside 
the north-east corner of the Haram Area. (See plans facing pp. 
150, 172.) The traditional origin of its name is thus recorded by 
'Ali of Herat : 

" The Birkat Bani Israil is to the north of the Haram Area. 
They say that Bukht Nasar (Nebuchadnezzar) filled it with the 
heads of the Children of Israel that he slew." (A. H., Oxf. 
MS., f. 39 v.) 

The Birkat Sulaiman and the Birkat 'lyad do not exist under 
these names at the present day. The Birkat Sulaiman is, doubt- 
less, the mediaeval Pool of Bethesda, the site of which has recently 
been discovered (see P. E. F. " Quarterly Statement," 1888, p. 115) 
near the Church of St. Anne.* Tradition ascribed the digging of 
both this pool and the Birkat Bani. Israil to King Solomon. (See 
P. P. T. Bordeaux Pilgrim, p. 20, and Citcz de Jherusalem, p. 25 ) 

The Birkat 'lyad was called after 'lyad ibn Ghanm, a celebrated 
( 'ompanion of the Prophet, who was with the Khalif 'Omar at the 
capitulation of Jerusalem, and, according to Mujir ad Din 
(M. a. D., 231), built a bath in the Holy City. He diedA.H. 20 
(641). The pool anciently called by his name is probably the 
present Birkat Hammam al Butrak, the Pool of the Patriarch's Bath, 
not far from the Jaffa Gate, very generally identified with the Pool 
Amygdalon of Josephus and with the Biblical Pool of Hezekiah. 

Suyuti, in 1470, whose account is copied by Mujir ad Din 
(M. a. D., 4091 writes as follows : "In regard to the pools that 
are in the Holy City, on the report of Damrah from Ibn Abi 
Siulah, it is related that a certain King of the Kings of the 
Children of Israel, named Hazkil (Hezekiah), constructed six 
pools for the Holy City, namely, three within the city, which are 
the Birkat Bani Israil, the Birkat Sulaiman, and the Birkat 'lyad, 
and three without the city, which are the Birkat Manilla and the 
two Birkats of Al Marji'. And these he made to store the water 
for the use of the people of the Holy City." (S., 274.) 
* See the Plan of Jerusalem facing p. 83. 


With regard to the pools outside the city here alluded to, the 
Pool of Mamilla lies a short distance west of the Jaffa Gate of 
Jerusalem, while the Pools of Al Marji' are those known as 
Solomon's Pools, some miles from Hebron, referred to above 
in the descriptions of Mukaddasi and others. (See p. 197.) 
Mujir ad Din, writing in 1496, adds that in his days the two 
Birkats of Tyad and Sulaiman could no longer be identified, the 
names being unknown to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (M. a. T)., 


The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, In their descriptions of 
Jerusalem, Muslim writers very naturally give but scant space to 
the mention of Christian edifices. The great Church of the 
Resurrection, however, founded by Constantine about the year 
335, ruined by the Persian Chosroes in 614, and restored by 
Modestus in 629, had been left untouched when, in 637, 'Omar 
took possession of Jerusalem ; and, as has been noted on a 
previous page, was, in Mukaddasi's days, " so enchantingly fair, 
and so renowned for its splendour," as almost to rival in beauty 
the Dome of the Rock and the Great Mosque at Damascus. 
(Seep. 117.) 

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is mentioned as early as 
the year 943 A.D. by the historian Mas'udi. The Muslims, from 
the earliest times, have called this church Kanisah at Kumamah 
" the Church of the Sweepings," or " of the Dunghill "- 
Kumamah being a designed corruption of Ka\amah, the name 
given to the church by the Eastern Christians, this being the 
Arabic equivalent of Anastasis "the Resurrection." The im- 
posture, which is still called the Miracle of the Holy Fire, is first 
noticed by the Christian pilgrim, Bernard the Wise, in 867. 
Mas'udi's testimony, therefore, some eighty years later, that the 
miracle took place in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of the 
Christians, a well-known building, perfectly distinct from the 
Dome of the Rock (which last Mr. Fergusson would have us 
believe was, at that period, known as the Holy Sepul.hre], serves 


to overturn from its foundations the theory that Constantino's 
basilica is the Muslim Dome of the Rock. Mas'udi was sceptical 
as to the miraculous origin of the fire. His account is as 
follows : 

" On the fifth day of the (Syrian) month Tishrin i (October), is 
the festival of the Kanisah al Kumamah (the Church of the 
Sepulchre) at Jerusalem. The Christians assemble for this festival 
from out all lands. For on it the fire from heaven doth descend 
among them, and they kindle therefrom the candles. The 
Muslims also are wont to assemble in great crowds to see the 
sight of the festival. It is the custom at this time to pluck olive- 
leaves. The Christians hold many legends there anent ; but 
the fire is produced by a clever artifice, which is kept a great 
secret." (Mas., iii. 405.) 

Another passage from the same author is curious as showing 
what were the churches in the hands of the Christians in 
Jerusalem in A.D. 943. After relating the history of the reign of 
Solomon, Mas'udi concludes his chapter with the following 
paragraph : 

" It was Solomon who first built the Holy House, which same 
is now the Aksa Mosque may Allah bless its precincts ! When 
he had completed the building thereof, he set about building a 
house for his own use. This last is the place that, in our own 
day, is called the Kanisah al Kumamah (the Church of the 
Resurrection). It is the largest church in Jerusalem belonging 
to the Christians. They have also in the Holy City other greatly 
honoured churches besides this one as, for example, the Kanisah 
Sihyun (the Church of Sion), of which David has made mention 
(in the Psalms) : and the church known as Al Jismaniyyah. This 
last, they say, encloses the tomb of David." (Mas., i. i n.) 

Al Jismaniyyah is the Arabic corruption of the name Geth- 
semane. The original Hebrew name has the meaning of Garden 
of the Clire-prcss ; while Jismaniyyah, in Arabic, signifies " The 
place of the Incarnation" and is in allusion, therefore, to a 
different circumstance in the Gospel history. Mukaddasi, writing 
in 985, gives no description of the Church of the Sepulchre, only 
alluding to it incidentally. (See pp. 98, 117.) 


There is some doubt as to the exact year in which the mad 
Khalif of Egypt, Hakim, ordered the celebrated destruction of 
the Church of the Sepulchre. Western authorities generally place 
this event in the year 1010 A.D. The chronicle of Ibn al Athir 
notes it as an occurrence of the year of the Hijrah 398 (1008). 
He writes : " In this year Al Hakim-bi-amr-Illah, the Lord of 
Egypt, ordered the demolition of the Church of the Kumamah, 
which is the church in the Holy City (of Jerusalem) called 
generally by the (Christians) Al Kayamah (the Anastasis). In 
this church, according to the belief of the Christians, is the spot 
where the Messiah was buried ; and on this account it is visited 
by them, coming in pilgrimage from all parts of the earth. Al 
Hakim also commanded the other churches throughout his 
dominions to be likewise pulled down, and so it was done." (Ibn 
al Athir, ix. 147.) 

Makrizi, however, an authority of no less weight than the above, 
states that it was in the year 400 A.M. (1010) that Al Hakim 
" wrote ordering the destruction of the Church of the Kumamah," 
(the text is given in De Sacy's Chrestomathie Arabe, vol. i., p. 60 
of the Arabic), and this corresponds with the date generally given 
by Western writers. Mujir ad Din, on the contrary, repeats Ibn al 
Athir's date. He writes: "During the year 398 (1008), the 
Khalif Hakim ordered the Kumamah to be destroyed. The 
church, however, was allowed to be rebuilt during the reign of his 
son, Al Mustansir, by the King of Rum." (M. a. D., 269.) The 
King of Rum here mentioned is, according to one account, the 
Emperor Constantine Monomachus, who, about the year 1048, 
had the church rebuilt under the superintendence of the Patriarch 
Nicephorus. Other accounts state that the restoration took place 
under the P^mperor Michael IV., the Paphlagonian, who obtained 
the privilege of Al Mustansir on the condition of setting free five 
thousand Muslim captives. 

In the year 1047, Jerusalem was visited by the Persian pilgrim 
Nasir-i-Khusrau, who has left the following description of the 
great church as it stood before the alterations effected by the 
Crusaders. Nasir writes : 

"In the Holy City (of Jerusalem), the Christians possess a 


church which they call Bai'at-al-Kumamah (which is the Church 
of the Resurrection), and they hold it in high veneration. Every 
year great multitudes of people from Rum (the Greek Empire) 
come hither to perform their visitation ; and the Emperor of 
Byzantium himself even comes here, but privily, so that no one 
should recognise him. In the days when (the Fatimite Khalif) 
Al Hakim-bi-amr-Illah was ruler of Egypt, the Greek Caesar had 
come after this manner to Jerusalem. Al Hakim, having news of 
it, sent for one of his cup-bearers, and said to him, ' There is a 
man of so and such a countenance and condition whom thou 
wilt find seated in the Mosque (Jami') of the Holy City ; go thou, 
therefore, and approach him, and say that Hakim hath sent thee 
to him, lest he should think that I, Hakim, knew not of his 
coming ; but let him be of good cheer, for I have no evil intention 
against him.' Hakim at one time ordered the Church (of the 
Resurrection) to be given over to plunder, which was so done, 
and it was laid in ruins. Some time it remained thus ; but after- 
wards the Caesar of Byzantium sent ambassadors with presents 
and promises of service, and concluded a treaty in which he 
stipulated for permission to defray the expenses of rebuilding the 
church, and this was ultimately accomplished. 

" At the present day the church is a most spacious building, and 
is capable of containing eight thousand persons. The edifice is 
built, with the utmost skill, of coloured marbles, with ornamenta- 
tion and sculptures. Inside, the church is everywhere adorned 
with Byzantine brocade, worked in gold with pictures. And they 
have portrayed Jesus peace be upon Him ! who at times is 
shown riding upon an ass. There are also pictures representing 
others of the Prophets, as, for instance, Abraham, and Ishmael, 
and Isaac, and Jacob with his sons peace be upon them all ! 
These pictures they have overlaid with a varnish of the oil of 
Sandaracha (Sandariis, or red juniper) ; and for the face of 
each portrait they have made a plate of thin glass, which is set 
thereon, and is perfectly transparent. This dispenses with the 
need of a curtain, and prevents any dust or dirt from settling 
on the painting, for the glass is cleaned daily by the servants 
(of the church). Besides this (Church of the Resurrection) 


there are many others (in Jerusalem), all very skilfully built ; but 
to describe them all would lead into too great length. In the Church 
(of the Resurrection) there is a picture divided into two parts, 
representing Heaven and Hell. One part shows the people 
of paradise in Paradise, while the other shows the people of hell 
in Hell, with all that therein is ; and assuredly there is nowhere 
else in the world a picture such as this. There are seated in this 
church great numbers of priests and monks, who read the Evangel 
and say prayers, for both by day and by night they are occupied 
after this manner." (N. Kh., 59-61.) 

In 1099 the Crusaders gained possession of Jerusalem, and 
deeming the old Church of the Resurrection to be too insignifi- 
cant a building for the great purpose of the Shrine of Crrist's 
Tomb, they enlarged the edifice by adding a nave and aisles 
to the then existing rotunda. These additions were apparently 
completed in the first half of the twelfth century. In 1154 
Idrisi, quoting, doubtless, from the accounts brought home to 
Sicily by Christian pilgrims, wrote the following description of the 
church as it then existed : 

" When you enter (Jerusalem) by the Jaffa Gate, called Bab al 
Mihrab, which, as aforesaid, is the western gate, you go eastwards 
through a street that leads to the great church known as the 
Kanisah al Kayamah (the Church of the Resurrection), which 
the Muslims call Kumamah (the Dunghill). This is a church to 
which pilgrimage is made from all parts of the Greek Empire, 
both from the eastern lands and the western. You enter (the 
church) by a gate at the west end, and the interior thereof 
occupies the centre space under a dome, which covers the whole of 
the church. This is one of the wonders of the world. The church 
itself lies lower than this gate, and you cannot descend thereto 
from this side. Another gate opens on the north side, and 
through this you may descend to the lower part of the church by 
thirty steps. This gate is called Bab Santa Maria. 

" When you have descended ir to the interior of the church you 
come on the most venerated Holy Sepulchre. It has two gates, 
and above it is a vaulted dome of very solid construction, beauti- 
fully built, and splendidly ornamented. Of these two gates, one 


is towards the north, facing the Gate Santa Maria, and the other is 
toward the south, facing which is the Bab as Salubiyyah (the Gate 
of the Crucifixion). Above this last gate is the bell-tower of the 
church. Over against this, on the east, is a great and venerable 
church, where the Franks of Rum (which is the Greek Empire) 
have their worship and services. To the east (again) of this 
blessed church, but bearing somewhat to the south, is the prison 
in which the Lord Messiah was incarcerated : also the place of the 
Crucifixion. Now, as to the great dome (over the Church of the 
Resurrection), it is of a vast size, and open to the sky. Inside the 
dome, and all round it, are painted pictures of the Prophets, and 
of the Lord Messiah, and of the Lady Maryam, his Mother, and 
of John the Baptist. Over the Holy Sepulchre lamps are 
suspended, and above the Place (of the Grave) in particular 
are three lamps of gold." (Id., 6.) 

The mention of the bell-tower, called in the Arabic Kanbindr 
(Campanarium), would go to prove the tower of the Church of 
the Resurrection to be older than M. de Vogue supposes, judging 
it on architectural grounds only, in his E&lises de la Terre Sciinte 
(p. 207). The great south portal of the church, the only one 
at present in use, and immediately to the north of which stands 
the bell -tower, is the one doubtless here called the Gate of the 
Crucifixion. It is noteworthy that in Idrisi's days the church had 
three entrances, the above-mentioned gate to the south ; one 
opposite, opening north (the Gate of Santa Maria) ; and, lastly, 
the West Gate, from which you could not descend into the body 
of the edifice. The two latter gates no longer exist. The 
" Church of the Greeks " must be the present Catholicon, lying 
immediately east of the Rotunda of the Sepulchre, and to the 
present day belonging to the Greek community. It forms the 
western half of the Church of the Crusaders. 

Some years later than Idrisi, 'Ali of Herat, in 1173, wrote a 
description of the Holy Places of Palestine, from the purely 
Muslim point of view. Of the Church of the Resurrection he gives 
the following short notice, written a few years before Saladin's 
recovery of the Holy City : 

" The Church of the Kumamah is one of the most wonderful 


buildings of the world. In it is the tomb which the Christians 
call Al Kayamah (Anastasis), and this because they believe that 
the Resurrection of the Messiah took place here. But the truth is 
that the place is called Al Kumamah (the Dunghill) because it was 
of old a dung-heap, and lay outside the city, being the place 
where they cut off the hands of malefactors and crucified thieves, 
as, too, is mentioned in the Evangel but Allah alone knows the 
truth. The Christians have in this place the rock which they say 
was split, and from beneath which Adam rose up because it 
stood under the place of the Crucifixion, as they relate.* They 
have also here the Garden of Joseph, surnamed As Siddik (the 
Truthful), which is much visited by pilgrims. In this church 
takes place the descent of the (Holy) Fire. Now, verily, I myself 
did sojourn at Jerusalem for some season during the days of the 
Franks, in order to understand their ways and the manner of the 
sciences." (A. H., Oxf. MS., f. 41, recto and verso.) 

In 1187 Saladin expelled the Crusaders from the Holy City, and, 
according to some accounts, pillaged and did considerable damage 
to the Church of the Resurrection. In 1192 the knights of the 
Third Crusade were allowed by Saladin to visit the Holy Sepulchre, 
and the Bishop of Salisbury obtained permission for two Latin 
monks to remain there and conduct the services of the church. 
The account which Yakut, writing in 1225, gives of the church 
proves that in his day the building had recovered from the 
reported pillage at the date of Saladin's conquest. Yakut, as will 
be seen, repeats the account given by 'AH of Herat ; he, however, 
adds some remarks of his own, and gives a curious notice of the 
Miracle of the Holy Fire : 

"The Kumamah is the great church of the Christians at 
Jerusalem. It is beyond description for beauty, and for its great 
riches and wonderful architecture. It stands in the middle of the 
city, and a wall surrounds it. There is here the tomb which the 
Christians call Al Kayamah (the Anastasis), because of their 
belief that the Resurrection of the Messiah took place here. In 

* This is the well-known mediaeval legend. See Palestine Pilgrims' Text, 
Abbot Daniel, p. 14. The rent in the rock is still shown. According to tradi- 
tion, Adam was buried below the rock on which the Crucifixion afterwards 
took place. 


point of fact, however, the name is Kumamah, not Kayamah, for 
the place was the Dunghill of the inhabitants of the city, and 
stood anciently without the town, being the place where they cut 
off malefactors' hands, and where they crucified thieves. But 
after the Messiah had been crucified on this spot, it came to 
be venerated as you now see. This is all related in the Evangel. 
There is here a rock which they say was split and Adam rose from 
it, for the Crucifixion took place on the summit of the same. 
The Christians have also in this spot the Garden of Joseph, the 
Truthful peace be upon him ! and visitation is made thereto. 
In one part (of the church) is a lamp, on which they say fire 
descends from heaven on a certain day and kindles the wick. 

"Now, on this matter a certain person who was in the public 
service and he was a man of the companions of the Sultan, to 
whom it was not possible for the Christians to refuse admittance, 
and he had stayed in the church to see how the affair was accom- 
plished related to me the following as of his experience: On 
one occasion, said he, the descent of the fire was delayed by 
the priest, in whose charge it was to see to it, and he turned to 
me and said : ' Verily thy attending on us is a matter against the 
precept of our law.' I inquired of him wherefore. Said he : 
' Because we appear before our companions as doing a thing that 
should be kept hid from one like thee. It were therefore to be 
desired that thou shouldst leave us and go out.' Said I to him : 
' Of necessity will I now see what thou art about to do ; for behold, 
I have found in a book of magic what is written therein, how ye 
bring a candle near, and then on a sudden hang it up in this place, 
which the people neither seeing nor knowing, it is considered by 
them a miraculous act, and one deserving of all belief.' Here 
ends the account." (Yak., iv. 173-174.) 


It will be convenient at this place to insert such short notices as 
are found in the early Muslim writers of the other Christian 
shrines which they describe in Jerusalem. 

The Garden of Gethsemane, called Al Jismaniyyah in Arabic 
(see above, p. 203), is mentioned by Mas'udi as early as the year 943. 



Writing in 1154, Idrisi has the following account of the same 
spot: "Leaving the (Aksa) Mosque (and crossing the Haram 
Area) you come, on the eastern side, to the Bab ar Rahmah (the 
Gate of Mercy, the Golden Gate), which is now closed, as we have 
said before ; but near to this gate is another, which is open. It is 
called Bab al Asbat (the Gate of the Tribes), and through it there 
is much coming and going. When you have passed out by the 
Gate of the Tribes, you reach the limits of the archery-ground, 
and find there a large and very beautiful church, dedicated to the 
Lady Mary, and the place is known as Al Jismaniyyah. At this 
place also is her tomb, on the skirt of the Mount of Olives (Jabal 
az Zaitun). Between it and the Gate of the Tribes is the space of 
about a mile." (Id., 8.) 

The next mention that occurs of the Tomb of the Virgin is that 
given by 'AH of Herat. His work was written in 1173, while the 
Crusaders still had possession of Jerusalem ; but the paragraph on 
the Tomb of the Virgin would appear to have been altered at a 
subsequent date, for it describes the building as it was transformed 
after Saladin's rejbonquest of the Holy City in 1187. 'Ali of 
Herat writes : " T7he Tomb of Maryam is in the Wadi Jahannum. 
You descend (to the tomb) by six-and-thirty steps. There are 
here columns of granite and marble. The dome is supported by 
sixteen columns, eight being red, and eight green. The building 
has four gates, and at each gate are six columns of marble or 
granite. It was originally a church, but is now a Mashhad, or 
oratory, dedicated to Abraham the Friend peace be on him ! 
There are here wonderful remains of columns and other archi- 
tectural fragments." (A. H., Oxf. MS., f. 40.) 

Ibn Batutah, who visited Jerusalem in 1355, speaks in the 
following terms of the Tomb of the Virgin, and of some other 
Christian shrines in Jerusalem : " At the bottom of the said Valley 
of Jahannum is a church which the Christians venerate, for here, 
they say, is the Tomb of Maryam peace be on her ! In Jeru- 
salem also is another church (namely, that of the Resurrection), to 
which the Christians make pilgrimage, and about which they tell 
many lies, asserting that the Tomb of Jesus peace be on Him ! 
is therein. Now, on every pilgrim who makes his visitation to this 


church a certain tribute is levied for the benefit of the Muslims, 
and the Christians have to bear humiliations, which they undergo 
with much revolting of the heart. In Jerusalem also is the place 
of the Cradle of Jesus peace be on Him ! where Christians 
come to seek a blessing." (I. B., i. 124.) 

The Church of Pater Noster and Bethany are spoken of by 
Idrisi in 1154. He writes: "On the road ascending the Mount 
of Olives is a magnificent church, beautifully and solidly built, 
which is called the Church of Pater Noster; and on the summit 
of the mount is another church, beautiful and grand likewise, in 
which men and women incarcerate themselves, seeking thereby to 
obtain favour with Allah be He exalted ! In this aforementioned 
mount, on the eastern part, and bearing rather to the south, is the 
Tomb of Al 'Azar (Lazarus), whom the Lord Messiah raised again 
to life. Two miles distant from the Mount of Olives stands the 
village from which they brought the she-ass, on which the Lord 
Messiah rode on His entry into Jerusalem, but the place is now 
in ruins, and no one lives there." (Id., 8.) 

The Church of the Ascension (on the Mount of Olives) is 
referred to by 'Ali of Herat in 1 173 as " the Church of Salik, which 
is the one from which the Messiah is said to have ascended into 
heaven." (A.H., Oxf. MS., f. 40.) Ibn Batutah doubtless alludes 
to the same building in the Diary of his visit to Jerusalem in 1355, 
where he writes : " Beside the Wadi, called Wadi Jahannum, and 
to the east of the city on a hill that rises to a certain height (known 
as the Mount of Olives), there is a building whence they say Jesus 
peace be on Him ! ascended into heaven." (I. B., i. 124.) 

'Ali of Herat, in 1173, mentions another church, which it is 
difficult at the present day to identify. He writes : "At Jerusalem 
is the Church of the Jacobites,* in which is the well where they 
say the Messiah washed, and where the Samaritan woman received 
belief at His hands. The place is much visited, and is held 
in great veneration. At Jerusalem also is the Tower (Burj^ 
of David and his Mihrab, as is mentioned in the Kuran 
(xxxviii. 20)." 

* In the Oxford MS., folio 39, v., the name is written ' Kanisah at YughAkiy- 
yah, a mistake (by the alteration of the diacritical points) for Al Yugh&biyyak, 
which is the reading found in M. Shefer's MS. 



Of the Church of Sion and the adjacent shrines, Idrisi reports 
as follows : 

" Now, as to what lies adjacent to the Holy City on the 
southern quarter, \vhen you go out by the Bab Sihyun (the Gate 
of Sion), you pass a distance of a stone's throw, and come to the 
Church of Sion, which is a beautiful church, and fortified. In it 
is the guest-chamber wherein the Lord Messiah ate with the 
disciples, and the table is there remaining even unto the present 
day. The people assemble here (for the Festival of Maundy-) 
Thursday. And from the Gate of Sion you descend into a ravine 
called Wadi Jahannum (the Valley of Gehenna). On the edge of 
this ravine is a church called after the name of Peter, and down 
in the ravine is the 'Ain Sulwan (Spring of Siloam), which is the 
spring where the Lord Messiah cured the infirmity of the blind 
man, who before that had no eyes. Going south from this said 
spring is the field (Hakl, Aceldama ?) wherein strangers are buried, 
and it is a piece of ground which the Lord bought for this pur- 
pose ; and near by to it are many habitations cut out in the rock 
wherein men incarcerate themselves for the purposes of devotion." 
(Id., 9.) 

The table in the Church of Sion is mentioned also by 'Ali of 
Herat in 1173, who notices the tradition that it came down from 
heaven to Christ and His disciples. (A. H., Oxf. MS., f. 40.) 
Yakut (1225) also alludes incidentally to the Church of Sion. 
(Yak, iii. 438.) 


The gates in the walls of Jerusalem, though mentioned singly 
and incidentally by many geographers, are only fully enumerated 
by two Arab authors namely, Mukaddasi in 985, and Mujir ad 
Din in 1496. Between these two dates the Holy City was 
in turn besieged by the Crusaders and by Saladin, and the walls 
were several times dismantled and rebuilt. It is not, therefore, 
astonishing to find that Mukaddasi's gates do not all bear the 
same names as those found in Mujir ad Din, which last are those 
still open and used at the present day. Mukaddasi writes as 
follows : 


"Jerusalem is smaller than Makkah, and larger than Al 
Madinah. Over the city is a castle, one side of which is against 
the hillside, while the other is defended by a ditch. Jerusalem 
has eight iron gates : 

" (i) Bab Sihyun (Gate of Sion). 

" (a) Bab at Tih (Gate of the Desert of the Wanderings). 

" (3) Bab al Balat (Gate of the Palace, or Court). 

" (4) Bab Jubb Armiya (Gate of Jeremiah's Pit). 

" (5) Bab Silwan (Gate of Siloam). 

" (6) Bab Ariha (Gate of Jericho). 

" (7) Bab al 'Amud (Gate of the Columns). 

" (8) Bab Mihrab Daud (Gate of David's Oratory)." (Muk., 167.) 

It is evident, from such of the gates as still bear the same names 
as they did in 985, that Mukaddasi follows no order, but that the 
names as they at present stand in the MSS. are set down almost 
entirely at haphazard. To begin, however, with those about 
which there can be little dispute.* 

The Gate of David's Mihrab (8) is that generally known as the 
Jaffa or Hebron Gate, called at the present day Bab al Khalil. 
Immediately above it is the castle mentioned by Mukaddasi, which 
still exists, and in which is the Mihrab which gave this gate its 
name. David's Mihrab is also shown in the Haram Area. (See 
p. 1 68.) The oratory in the castle, however, is the one referred 
to by Istakhri and Ibn Haukal in the following description : 

" In the city is the Mihrab of the prophet David, a tall edifice 
built of stone, which, by measurement and calculation, I should 
say reached a height of 50 ells, and was 30 ells in the breadth. 
On its summit is a building like a cell, which is the Mihrab men- 
tioned by Allah may He be exalted ! (in the words of the 
Kuran : ' Hath the story of the two pleaders reached thee, when 
they mounted the walls of David's Mihrab ?') When you come 
up to the Holy City from Ar Ramlah this is the first building that 
catches the eye, and you see it above the other houses of the 
town. In the Noble Sanctuary, too, are many other venerated 
Mihrabs dedicated to other of the celebrated prophets." (Is., 
56; I. H., in.) 

* See the plan of Jerusalem facing p. 83. 


The Sion Gate (i) is the next south of the Hebron Gate, and 
is now known as Bab an Nabi Daud (the Gate of the Prophet 
David). The Gate of Jericho (6) is that which the Christians, 
for the last five centuries, have called St. Stephen's Gate. The 
Gate of Jeremiah's Pit (4) can, from the position of the grotto (or 
pit), only be the small gate to the north, called at the present day 
Bab as Sahirah, and in old days known as Herod's Gate. The 
Gate of the Columns (7) is that more generally known as the 
Damascus Gate, though it still bears the older name. In the 
times of the Crusaders this was what was known as St. Stephen's 
Gate, a name in later times transferred to the Jericho Gate. 

The remaining of Mukaddasi's gates can only be approximately 
identified. The Gate of the Desert of the Wanderings (2) is 
probably the "Secret Gate" mentioned by Mujir ad Din as 
opening near the Armenian Convent between the Hebron and 
Sion Gates. The Siloam Gate (5) can hardly, from its name, be 
other than the southern gate, called the Bab al Magharibah (Gate 
of the Mogrebins, or Western Africans), which the Franks have 
named the Dung Gate. Bab al Balat (the Gate of the Palace, or 
Court) (3) is, most probably, identical with Mujir ad Din's Bab ar 
Rahbah (the Gate of the Public Square), opening west in the city 
wall, and north of the Hebron Gate. In the Citez de Jherusalem, 
written about the year 1225, the gate which opened here is named 
the St. Lazarus Postern. Since Mujir ad Din's days it has been 
built up. 

Idrisi, writing in 1154, notes the following city gates : 

" Bab al Mihrab (Jaffa Gate) is on the western side ; and this 
is the gate over which is the Cupola of David (Kubbat Daud) 
peace be upon him ! Bab ar Rahmah (the Golden Gate) is on 
the eastern side of the^city. It is closed, and is only opened at 
the Feast of Olive-branches (Palm Sunday). Bab Sihyun (the 
Sion Gate) is on the south of the city. Bab 'Amud al Ghurab 
(the Gate of the Crow's Pillar the Damascus Gate) lies to the 
north of the city." (Id., 5.) 

The Damascus Gate was called " of the Pillar " on account of 
certain ancient columns that had been built into it ; but what the 
" Crow " may refer to is not known. Idrisi is the only author to 


mention this name. It will be noted that the Golden Gate, Bab 
ar Rahmah (Gate of Mercy), is here mentioned as a city gate. 
During the time of the Crusaders there was apparently a right-of- 
way across the Haram Area from the Porta Speciosa (Bab Daud, 
or Bab as Silsilah) in the west wall of the Noble Sanctuary to the 
Golden Gate on the east. In Muslim times this was never 

Writing in 1496, Mujir ad Din enumerates the following city 
gates, ten in number : 

"On the south side are two gates: (i) Bab Harah al 
Magharibah," the Gate of the Mogribins' Quarter the Prankish 
Dung Gate. "(2) Bab Sihyun (of Sion), now known as the Bab 
Harah al Yahiid that is, of the Jews' Quarter." The Jews' 
Quarter in Crusading times was in the north-east part of the city. 
From Saladin's time down to the present day it has been in the 
quarter mentioned by Mujir ad Din to the south. 

" On the west side are three gates : (3) The small Secret Gate 
near the Armenian Convent." This is probably identical with 
Mukaddasi's Gate of the Desert of the Wanderings. It is at 
present walled up. " (4) Bab al Mihrab, now called Bab al 
Khalil," the Gate of the Friend ; i.e., Abraham the Hebron or 
Jaffa Gate. "(5) Bab ar Rahbah," the Gate of the Public Square; 
probably that mentioned by Mukaddasi as the Bab al Balat, and 
identical with the St. Lazarus Postern. It is now closed. 

"On the north side are four gates : (6) Bab Dair as Sarb," the 
Gate of the Servian Convent. The exact position of this is un- 
known, but it must have stood between the Rahbah Gate and the 
Damascus Gate. Mujir ad Din, speaking of the street called 
Khatt ad Dargah, writes : " It has in it Saladin's Bimaristan (or 
hospital), and the Church of the Kumamah (of the Resurrection). 
On its west side is the Quarter of the Christians, which extends 
from south to north, from the Bab al Khalil to the Bab as Sarb, 
and includes the Harah ar Rahbah, the Quarter of the Square." 

"(7) Bab al 'Amud," Gate of the Columns, the Damascus 
Gate, anciently the St. Stephen's Gate. "(8) Bab ad Da'iyah 
(Gate of the Conduit ?), by which you enter the Quarter of the 
Bani Zaid." This gate is no longer open, nor is its exact position 


known, but it must have stood somewhat to the west of the so- 
called Herod's Gate. "(9) Bab as Sahirah," the Gate of the 
Plain Herod's Gate.* 

" On the east one gate : (10) Bab al Asbat," Gate of the Tribes 
the present St. Stephen's or Jericho Gate. 

Mujir ad Din adds : " Besides these ten gates, there was 
anciently a gate near the Zawiyah (or Shrine), called after Ibn ash 
Shaikh 'Abd 'Allah, over against the citadel (Kala'ah). And again 
a gate in the quarter called Harah at Turiyyah, which led to 
the Maidan of the Slaves (Mai din al 'Abid), outside the Bab al 
Asbat. This gate is now closed." (M. a. D., 406.) Mujir ad Din 
tells us " that the Harah at Turiyyah (the quarter of the inhabitants 
of Tur, or Sinai) went from the Gate of the Tribes (Bab al 
Asbat) up to the north wall of the city;" that is, it occupied all the 
north-east quarter of the city. But there is no such gate as that 
mentioned, open at the present day in the walls here. 

The table on the next page shows the names of the City Gates 
at various epochs, beginning at the Jaffa Gate and going north- 
ward, and so round the walls back to the point of departure : 

* No native authority (as far as I am aware) exists for spelling the name 
of this gate, B&b ez Za/iary, " The Flowery Gate," as Robinson (Researches, 
2nd edit., i. 262), and many after him, have done. Neither is the name 
ever written Bab ez Zahriye, " Gate of Splendour," as has been set down in 
some of the Memoirs of the Palestine Exploration Fund. However the 
present inhabitants of Jerusalem may spell and pronounce the name of this 
small gate, which the Franks call " Herod's Gate," in old times it always was 
written As Sahirah, that is, " of the Plain," scilicet, " of the Assembly of the 
Judgment Day," which stretches bryond the city wall north-east from this 
Gate. See p. 218. 



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The valley called by the Jews Ge-Ben-Hinnon that is, of 
Gehenna was the deep gorge to the west and south-west of 
Jerusalem ; the Muslims, however, in adopting the Jewish name, 
chose the gorge bounding the Holy City on the east as the valley 
which they called Wadi Jahannum. This, in earlier days, had been 
known as the Valley of the Kedron, or of Jehoshaphat. In the 
Prophet Joel (iii. 2) the verse occurs: "I will also gather all 
nations, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, 
and will plead with them there for My people, and for My heritage 
Israel." This had led the Jews to make the Valley of Jehoshaphat 
the scene of the Last Judgment, and the Muslims, in adopting the 
Hebrew tradition, and transferring it to their Wadi Jahannum, had 
considerably amplified the story. According to these last, the 
Bridge As Sirat, dividing heaven and hell, is to stretch across 
this valley from the hill of the Haram Area to the Mount of 
Olives, while the Plain (As Sahirah), on the northern part of the 
mount, is to be the gathering-place of all mankind on the Last 
Day. The name of As Sahirah appears in later times to have been 
extended also to the plain on the city side, or west of the Kedron 
Valley, and therefore immediately to the north of Jerusalem, and 
from it one of the city gates, Bab as Sahirah, took its name, 
presumably at a period subsequent to Saladin's reconquest of the 
Holy City. Describing all these localities in 985, Mukaddasi 
writes as follows : 

"Jabal Zaita (the Mount of Olives) overlooks the Great 
Mosque from the eastern side of the Wadi (Jahannum). On 
its summit is a mosque built in memory of 'Omar, who sojourned 
here some days when he came to receive the capitulation of the 
Holy City. There is also a church built on the spot whence 
Christ ascended into heaven ; and further, near by is the place 
called As Sahirah (the Plain), which, as I have been informed on 
the authority of (the traditionist) Ibn 'Abbas, will be the scene of 
the resurrection. The ground is white, and blood has never been 
spilt here. Now, the Wadi Jahannum runs from the south-east angle 


of the Harani Area to the furthest (northern) point (of the city), 
and along the east side. In this valley there are gardens and vine- 
yards, churches, caverns and cells of anchorites, tombs, and other 
remarkable spots, also cultivated fields. In its midst stands the 
church which covers the Sepulchre of Mary, and above, overlook- 
ing the valley, are many tombs, among which are those of (the 
Companions of the Prophet) Shaddad ibn Aus ibn Thabit and 
'Ubadah ibn as Samit." (Muk., 171, 172.) 

Nasir-i-Khusrau, who visited Jerusalem in 1047, is the first 
Muslim writer to speak of the curious edifice in the Kedron 
Valley, generally known as the Tomb of Absalom, which at 
the present day the Muslims speak of as Tanturah Fira'un, or 
Pharaoh's Cap. Nasir writes : 

" The Aksa Mosque lies at the (south) east quarter of the city, 
whereby the eastern city wall forms also the wall of the Haram 
Area. When you have passed out of the Noble Sanctuary, there 
lies before you a great level plain, called the Sahirah, which, 
it is said, will be the place of the resurrection, where all mankind 
shall be gathered together. For this reason men from all parts of 
the world come hither, and make their sojourn in the Holy City 
till death overtakes them, in order that when the day fixed by God 
be He praised and exalted ! shall arrive, they may thus lie in 
their tombs ready and present at the appointed place. At the 
border of this Plain (of the Sahirah) there is a great cemetery, 
where are many places of pious renown, whither men come to 
pray and offer up petitions in their need. Lying between the 
mosque and this plain of the Sahirah is a great steep valley, 
and down in this valley, which is like unto a fosse, are many 
edifices, built after the fashion of ancient days. I saw here 
a dome cut out in the stone, and it is set upon the summit of 
a building. Nothing can be more curious than it is, and one asks 
how it came to be placed in its present position. In the mouths 
of the common people it goes by the appellation of Pharaoh's 
House. The valley of which we are speaking is the Wadi 
Jahannum. I inquired how this name came to be applied to the 
place, and they told me that in the times of the Khalif 'Omar 
may Allah receive him in grace ! the camp (of the Muslims, who 


had come up to besiege Jerusalem) was pitched here on the plain 
called the Sahirah, and that when 'Omar looked down and saw 
this valley, he exclaimed : c Verily this is the Valley of Jahannum.' 
The common people state that when you stand at the brink of the 
valley you may hear the cries of those in hell, which come up 
from below. I myself went there to listen, but heard nothing." 
(N. Kh., 24-26.) 

Yakut (in 1225) speaks of the plain called As Sahirah, at 
Jerusalem, as the scene of the Resurrection and Last Judgment, 
but gives no identification of its position. (Yak., iii. 25 ; 
Mar., ii. 6.) 

Mujir ad Din, in 1496, is the first to apply this name to the 
plain immediately to the north of Jerusalem and ic-est of the 
Kedron Valley; he, too, is the first to speak of the Bab as 
Sahirah, in the city wall of the northern quarter. He writes of 
the plain : 

"As Sahirah (of old) was the plain which lies to the (north) 
west of the Mount of Olives, not far from the Khalif 'Omar's 
Place of Prayer. At the present day, however, the Plain of As 
Sahirah is that which lies outside the Holy City immediately 
to the north. There is here the burial-ground where the Muslims 
(of all lands) bury their dead, and it occupies a high position 
on the hillside, being called the Cemetery (Makbarah) of As 
Sahirah." (M. a. D., 412.) 

The Pool of Siloam and the Well of Job. In the lower part of 
the Kedron Valley are found the 'Am Sulwan (the Spring of Siloam) 
and the Bir Ayyub (the Well of Job). Despite its Arab name of 
Ain, the Pool of Siloam is not, properly speaking, a spring, but 
merely a tank fed by the aqueduct from the Virgin's Fount (called 
'Ain Umm ad Daraj the Fountain of the Steps), and having an 
intermittent supply consequent on the intermittent flow of the 
upper spring. It was on the wall of the tunnel connecting the 
Pool of Siloam with the Virgin's Fount that, in 1880, the now 
celebrated Siloam inscription was accidentally discovered by a 
party of Jewish schoolboys. 

The Bir Ayyub, or Job's Well, which the Christians, since the 
sixteenth century, have been in the habit of calling the Well of 


Nehemiah, is probably En Rogel the Fuller's Spring mentioned, 
in the Book of Joshua (xv. 7), as standing on the boundary-line 
between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. 

Of these two fountains of water, Mukaddasi, in 985, speaks as 
follows : "The village of Sulwan is a place on the outskirts of the 
city. Below the village is the 'Ain Sulwan (Spring of Siloam), of 
fairly good water, which irrigates the large gardens which were 
given in bequest ( Wakf} by the Khalif 'Oihman ibn 'Affan for 
the poor of the city. Lower down than this, again, is Job's Well 
(Bir Ayyub). It is said that on the Night of 'Arafat the water 
of the holy well Zamzam, at Makkah, comes underground to the 
water of the Spring (of Siloam). The people hold a festival here 
on that evening." (Muk., 171.) 

Nasir-i-Khusrau, in 1047, nas tne following entry in his Diar) : 
" Going southward of the city for half a league, and down the 
gorge (of the Wadi Jahannum), you come to a fountain of water 
gushing out from the rock, which they call the 'Ain Sulwan (the 
Spring of Siloam). There are all round the spring numerous 
buildings ; and the water therefrom flows on down to a village, 
where there are many houses and gardens. It is said that when 
anyone washes from head to foot in this water he obtains relief 
from his pains, and will even recover from chronic maladies. 
There are at this spring many buildings for charitable purposes, 
richly endowed ; and the Holy City itself possesses an excellent 
Bimaristan (or hospital), which is provided for by considerable 
sums that were given for this purpose. Great numbers of (sick) 
people are here served with potions and lotions ; for there are 
physicians who receive a fixed stipend, and attend at the 
Bimaristan." (N. Kh., 26.) 

'Ali of Herat, in 1173, writes of the 'Ain Sulwan that "its 
waters are like those of the Well Zamzam (at Makkah). They 
flow from under the Dome of the Rock, and appear in the 
Wadi (Jahannum) which is beside the city." (A. H., Oxf. MS., 
f- 39, v.) 

Yakut, writing in 1225, quotes Mukaddasi's account already 
given, and adds that in his day there was a considerable suburb 
of the city at Sulwan and gardens. (Yak., iii. 125, 761.) The 


author of the Mardsid, who wrote about the year 1300, states 
.that at his date the gardens had all disappeared, that the water 
of Sulwan was no longer sweet, and that the buildings were all in 
ruin. (Mar., ii. 296.) 

Of the Well of Job, Suyilti quotes a curious account taken from 
an older author. He writes : " The author of the Kitab al Uns 
gives the following account of the well, which goes by the name 
of the prophet Job. He says : I have read a paper in the hand- 
writing of my cousin, Abu Muhammad al Kasim who gave me 
permission to make use thereof which states that he read in a 
certain book of history how once the water ran scarce among the 
people of the Holy City, and in their need they went to a well in 
the neighbourhood, which they descended to a depth of 80 ells. 
At its mouth the well was 10 or more ells, by 4 ells across; and 
its sides were lined with masonry of large stones, some of which 
might measure even 5 ells, but most of those in the depth of the 
well were i or 2 ells only in length. A wonder was it how these 
stones had been set in their places. The water of the well was 
cold and wholesome to drink, and the people used thereof during 
all that year, getting it at a depth of 80 ells. When the winter 
came, the water rose more abundantly in the well, till it overflowed 
the brink, and ran over the ground in the bed of the Wadi, and 
turned mills for grinding flour. Now once (says Abu Muhammad), 
when there was scarcity of this water, and of that, too, in the 'Ain 
Sulwan, I descended with some workmen to the bottom of the 
well to dig there, and I saw the water flowing out from under a 
rock, the breadth of which was 2 ells, by the like in height ; and 
there was a cavern, the entrance of which was 3 ells high, by i\ 
ells across. From this cavern there rushed out an extremely cold 
wind, which nearly made the lights go out ; and I perceived that 
the roof of the cavern was lined with masonry. On entering a 
short distance within the cavern, the torches could not be kept 
alight, by reason of the force of the wind which blew therefrom. 
This well is in the bed of the Wadi, and the cave is in its bed, 
too ; and above and all around are high steep hills, which a man 
cannot climb, except with much fatigue. This, also, is the well 
of which Allah spake to His prophet Job (in the Kuran, 


xxxviii. 41), saying, 'Stamp? said we, ' with thy foot. This 
(fountain) is to wash with; cool and to drink} And so the 
account of Abu Muhammad al Kasim ends." (S., 273.) 

The overflowing of the waters of Job's Well is a matter of 
almost yearly occurrence, as is here stated, and possibly there 
may be some underground channel connecting it with a reservoir 
of water in the upper part of the Gorge of the Kedron. 

The Cavern of Korah. Among the marvels of Jerusalem, 
Mukaddasi mentions a great cavern which in his day was ap- 
parently connected in the popular tradition with the history of 
Korah and his companions in rebellion, of whom mention occurs 
in the Kuran (xxviii. 76-81) under the name of Karun. Mukad- 
dasi writes : 

" There is at Jerusalem, without the city, a huge cavern. Ac- 
cording to what I have heard from learned men, and also have 
read in books, an entrance here leads into the place where lie the 
people slain by Moses. But there is no surety in this ; for ap- 
parently it is but a stone quarry with passages leading therefrom, 
along which one may go with torches." (Muk., 185.) 



Description by Mukaddasi in 985 A.D. The Great Mosque Mosaics City 
Gates Other accounts The rivers of Damascus Villages round the 
City The Ghautah or Plain, of Damascus The various water-courses 
The Hill of Jesus Ibn Jubair's description of the City and Mosque in 
1184 The ascent of the Great Dome The two descriptions of the 
Clepsydra Ibn Batutah's description in 1355 Shrines Suburbs 
Traditions Burning of the Mosque by Timur. 

DAMASCUS, called in Arabic Dimishk, or Dimashk, is probably the 
most ancient city of Syria, having kept its name unchanged through 
all ages. Damascus fell into the hands of the invading Muslims 
in the year 635, almost immediately after the great battle on the 
Yarmuk, or Hieromax River in the Hauran (see p. 54), which 
sealed the fate of Byzantine dominion in Syria. The Khalif 'Omar 
had named Abu 'Ubaidah commander-in-chief of the Arab army, 
and, at the siege of Damascus, he took up his position before 
the western city gate, leaving Khalid, the victor on the Yarmuk, 
commander of the troops before the eastern gate. Khalid stormed 
the quarter of the city near which he lay encamped, but on entering 
the town, found that the Damascenes had already capitulated 
to Abu 'Ubaidah, who was peaceably taking possession of the 
western quarter. The city, therefore, was treated as one that had 
in part capitulated, and in part been taken by storm ; and in con- 
sequence, during the first few years of the Arab dominion, the 
eastern part of the great Church of St. John was left to the 
Christians, while the Muslims turned the western half into a 
mosque, both Christians and Muslims, it is said, entering their 
respective places of worship by the same gate. 


About the year 66 1 Damascus was made the seat of Government 
by the Khalif Mu'awiyah, the founder of the dynasty of Omayyah, 
and, under his fourth successor, Al Walid, the Great Mosque 
was built on the ruins of the Church of St. John, which in its turn 
had been raised on what had originally been the site of a heathen 
temple. Damascus remained the capital of the Muslim Empire 
till 750, when the Omayyad Dynasty was overthrown by the 
Abbasides, who before the end of this century founded Baghdad, 
and transferred the capital city of Islam from Syria to Mesopo- 
tamia and the banks of the Tigris. By the absence of the 
Khalif and his Court, Damascus must have lost much of its 
splendour. The Great Mosque, however, still remained in all 
its glory, and this is well described in the following passages, 
which are translated from Mukaddasi's work : 

" Damascus is the chief town of Syria, and was the capital of 
the sovereigns of the House of Omayyah. Here were their 
palaces and their monuments, their edifices in wood and in brick. 
The rampart round the city, which I saw when I was there, is 
built of mud- bricks. Most of the markets are roofed in, but there 
is one among them, a fine one, which is open, running the whole 
length of the town. Damascus is a city intersected by streams 
and begirt with trees. Here prices are moderate, fruits and snow 
abound, and the products of both hot and cold climes are found. 
Nowhere else will be seen such magnificent hot baths, nor such 
beautiful fountains, nor people more worthy of consideration. 

" The city is in itself a very pleasant place, but of its disadvan- 
tages are, that the climate is scorching and the inhabitants are 
turbulent. Fruit here is insipid, and meat hard ; also the houses 
are small, and the streets sombre. Finally, the bread there is 
bad, and a livelihood is difficult to make. Around the city, for 
the distance of half a league in every direction, there stretches the 
level Plain (of the Ghutah). In a certain book that I found in the 
library of 'Adud ad Daulah, it is said that there are two cities, 
which are the brides of the earth namely, Damascus and Ar Ray 
( Rhages) ; and Yahya ibn Aktham states that there are in the 
world three places of perfect delight namely, the Vale of Samar- 
kand, the (Ghutah) of Damascus, and the Canal of Ubullah (below 



A. B&b al Barfd, Gate of the Post. 

B. Bab Jairun, also called Bab as Sa'aM by Ibn Batutah. 

C. Gate called at the present day Bab az Ziyjldah, Gate of the Addition ; or 

Bab as Surmayaliyyah, Gate of the Shoemaker's Bazaar. By Mukaddasi 
(985) named Bab as Sa'dt, Gate of the Hours. 

D. Gate called at the present day B&b al 'Amarah ; called Bab al Faradis, the 

Gate of the Gardens, by Mukaddasi and Idrisl ; and Bab an Nadfiyyiiv 
Gate of the Confectioners, by Ibn Jubair, or Bab an Natif^niyyin. 

E. Madhanat al Gharbiyyah, the Western Minaret. 

F. Mzldhanat 'Isa, Minaret of Jesus ; or the White Minaret. 

G. Madhanat al 'Arus, the Minaret of the Bride. 

H. The Great Mihrab, near which is the ancient gateway, now closed, sur- 
mounted by the Greek inscription, and which opened into the Church of 
St. John. 
I. The great Dome of Lead, or Dome of the Eagle. 

J. Shrine said to contain John the Baptist's head. 

K. Dome of the Treasury, at one time called the Dome, or the Tomb of 

L. Dome of the Fountain, or the W T ater-cage. 

M. Dome of the Hours, or the Dome of Zain al 'Abidin. 




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Baghdad). Damascus was founded by Dimask, the son of Kani, 
the son of Malik, the son of Arfakhshad (Arphaxad), the son of 
Sam (Shem), five years before the birth of Abraham ; Al Asma'i, 
however, asserts that its name is to be derived from the word 
Dim-uhkuhci, meaning ' they hastened to its building.' Such as I 
know myself among its gates are : Bab al Jabiyah, Bab as Saghir 
(the Small Gate), Bab al Kabir (the Great Gate), Bab ash Sharki 
(the Eastern Gate), Bab Tuma (the Gate of St. Thomas), Bab an 
Nahr (the Gate of the River), and Bab al Muhamaliyyin (the Gate 
of those who make Camel-litters). 

"The Mosque of Damascus is the fairest of any that the 
Muslims now hold, and nowhere is there collected together greater 
magnificence. Its outer walls are built of squared stones, accurately 
set, and of large size ; and crowning the walls are splendid battle- 
ments. The columns supporting the roof of the Mosque consist 
of black polished pillars in a triple row, and set widely apart. In 
the centre of the building, over the space fronting the Mihrab 
(towards Makkah), is a great dome. Round the court are lofty 
colonnades, above which are arched windows, and the whole area 
is paved with white marble. The (inner) walls of the Mosque, for 
twice the height of a man, are faced with variegated marbles ; and, 
above this, even to the very ceiling, are mosaics of various colours 
and in gold, showing figures of trees and towns and beautiful 
inscriptions, all most exquisitely and finely worked. And rare are 
the trees, and few the well-known towns, that will not be found 
figured on these walls ! The capitals of the columns are covered 
with gold, and the vaulting above the arcades is everywhere orna- 
mented in mosaic. The columns round the court are all of white 
marble, while the walls that enclose it, the vaulted arcades, and 
the arched windows above, are adorned in mosaic with arabesque 
designs. The roofs are everywhere overlaid with plates of lead, and 
the battlements on both sides are faced with the mosaic work. 

"On the right (or western) side* of the court is the treasure- 
house (Bait Mai) raised on eight columns, finely ornamented, and 
the walls are covered with mosaic. Both within the Mihrab, and 
around it, are set cut-agates and turquoises of the size of the finest 
* The visitor is supposed to stand facing the Great Mihrjib, H. 

I 2 


stones that are used in rings. Beside the (great) Mihrab, and to 
the left (east) of it, there is another, which is for the special use of 
the Sultan. It was formerly much dilapidated; but I hear now 
that he has expended thereon five hundred Dinars (^"250) to 
restore the same to its former condition. On the summit of the 
Dome of the Mosque is an orange, and above it a pomegranate, 
both in gold. But of the most wonderful of the sights here worthy 
of remark is verily the setting of the various coloured marbles, and 
how the veining in each follows from that of its neighbour ; and it 
is such that, should an artist come daily during a whole year and 
stand before these mosaics, he might always discover some new 
pattern and some fresh design. It is said that the Khalif al Walid, 
in order to construct these mosaics, brought skilled workmen from 
Persia, India, Western Africa, and Byzantium, spending thereon 
the whole revenues of Syria for seven years, as well as eighteen 
shiploads of gold and silver, which came from Cyprus. And this 
does not include what the Emperor of Byzantium and the Amirs 
of the Muslims gave to him in the matter of precious stones and 
other materials for the mosaics. 

" The people enter the Mosque by four gates namely, Bab 
Jairun, Bab al Faradis, Bab al Barid, and Bab as Sa'at. Bab al 
Barid (the Gate of the Post) opens into the right-hand (or west 
side of the court). It is of great size, and has two smaller gate- 
ways to right and to left of it. The chief gateway and the two 
lesser ones have each of them double doors, which are covered 
with plates of gilded copper. Over the great and the two smaller 
gateways are the porticos, and the doors open into the long colon- 
nades going round the court, which are vaulted over, the arches of 
the vault resting on marble columns, while the walls are covered 
(with mosaics) after the manner that has already been described. 
The ceilings here are all painted after the most exquisite designs. 
In these colonnades is the place of the paper-sellers, and also the 
court of the Kadi's (or Judge's) lieutenant. Thus the Gate Al Barid 
opens between the rnain-building (the covered part of the Mosque) 
and the court. Opposite to it, and on the left-hand side (or east) r 
is the Bab Jairun, which is similar to the Gate Al Barid just 
described, only that its porticos are vaulted over in the breadth. 


To this gate you ascend by steps, on which the astrologers and 
other such people are wont to take their seat. Bab as Sa'at (the 
Gate of the Hours) is in the eastern* angle of the covered part (cf 
the Mosque). It has double doors, which are unornamented, and 
over it is a portico, under which the public notaries and the like 
take their seat. The fourth gate is called Bab al Faradis (the 
Gate of the Gardens), also with double doors. It is opposite the 
Mihrab, and opens into the colonnades (on the north side of the 
courtyard), between the two additions (Az Ziyadatain) which have 
been built here on the right and the left. Above it rises a minaret. 
This has recently been constructed (or repaired), and is ornamented 
(with mosaic work) in the manner already described. Before each 
of these four gates is a place for ablution, of marble, provided 
with cells, wherein is running water, and fountains which flow into 
great marble basins. In the Mosque is a channel which they open 
once every year, and from it water gushes out, flooding the whole 
floor of the Mosque to about an ell deep, and its walls and area 
are thus cleansed. Then they open another conduit, and through 
it the water runs off. From the Sultan's palace, which is behind 
the Mosque, and is called Al Khadra (the Green Palace), are 
gates leading into the Maksurah (which is the Sultan's place of 
prayer), and these are plated with gold. 

"The Omayyad Khalif 'Omar ibn 'Abd al Aziz, it is said, 
wished at one time to demolish the Mosque, and make use of its 
materials in the public works of the Muslims ; but he was at last 
persuaded to abandon the design. I have read in some book 
that there was expended on this Mosque the value of eighteen 
mule-loads of gold." (Muk., 156-160. The order of the para- 
graphs in our translation has, in some instances, been transposed.) 

In regard to the mosaic work, some fragments of which may 
still be seen at the present day on the walls of the Mosque, the 
following note, written on the margin of one of the MSS. of 
Mukaddasi, is worth translating : 

" Mosaic is composed of morsels of glass, such as are used for 
the standard coin-weights ; but they are yeliow in colour, or gray, 
black, red, and mottled, or else gilt, by laying gold on the surface, 
* Probably a mistake for " western." 


which is then covered by a thin sheet of glass. They prepare 
plaster with Arabian gum, and lay it over the walls ; and this they 
ornament with the mosaics, which are set so as to form figures 
and inscriptions. In some cases they cover the whole surface 
with the gold-mosaic, so that all the wall seems as though it were 
built of nothing but pure gold." Mosaic is called in Arabic 
Fashfashah or Fusaifusa, a corruption of the Greek 4^0; ; for 
the Muslims were in this, as in many other arts, the pupils of the 
Byzantines, and borrowed their technical terms from the Greek. 

The two main gates of the Mosque Bab Jairun, opening east : 
and Bab al Barid, opening west bear the same names now that they 
did in the earliest days of Islam. But there is some confusion in 
the names of Mukaddasi's two last-mentioned gates that is, Bab as 
Sa'at and Bab al Faradis. The plan of the Mosque, given by the 
Rev. J. L. Porter in the first edition of Five Years in Damascus 
(London, 1855), is here reproduced. There is no gate opening 
at the present day into "the eastern" angle of the Mosque. In the 
western portion of the south wall is the gate for which A. von 
Kremer (Topography of Damascus, in vol. v. of the Zeitschrift 
Acad. Wiss., Wien, 1854) gives three names viz., Bab as 
Surmayatiyyah (of the Shoemaker's Bazaar), or Az Ziyadah (of 
the Addition), or As Sa'at (of the Hours). Bab az Ziyadah is 
the name by which this gate is generally known at present. This 
cannot be the gate which Mukaddasi calls Bab al Faradis, for 
that, he says, lies " opposite the Mihrab," and opens into the 
colonnades through the recent additions (Ziyadatain\ although it 
must be confessed that this last word recalls the name of the 
present Bab az Ziyadah (Gate of the Addition). Mukaddasi's 
Bab al Faradis, however, from its position, must be the modern 
Bab al 'Amarah, which opens north, and is immediately east of 
the present Madhanat al 'Arus (the Minaret of the Bride). This 
last would, therefore, be the recently-constructed minaret of 
Mukaddasi ; but that here, again, is a doubt, for this is the most 
ancient minaret of the Mosque, having been built by the Omayyad 
Khalif al Walid. Perhaps, however, for "constructed" we should 
understand "restored," and the Arabic may bear 44ws interpreta- 
tion. Mukaddasi's Bab al Faradis (Gate of the Gardens), which 


were on the Barada River to the north, is further identical with 
the Bab an Natifiyyin (Gate of the Confectioners) mentioned by 
Ibn Jubair (see below, p. 252), by whom, also, the south gate 
(Mukaddasi's Bab as Sa'at) is invariably spoken of as the Bab az 
Ziyadah. The gates leading from the Mosque to Mu'awiyah's 
Palace of the Khadra would appear to have opened through the 
original south door of the Church of St. John, long since closed, 
but over the lintel of which may be read to the present day the 
well-known inscription in Greek : * Thy kingdom, O Christ, is an 
everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all 
generations?* This was, doubtless, the gate of entrance used by 
Muslims and Christians alike, till the time of Al Walid's rebuilding 
of the Mosque. 

The city gates, seven in number, enumerated by Mukaddasi, 
may, for the most part, be easily identified. Bab Jabiyah, called 
from the suburb of that name, is at the western end of the 
" Straight Street," at the eastern end of which is Bab ash Sharki, 
the East Gate. During the siege of Damascus, according to 
Biladhuri, Khalid lay before this East Gate, while Abu 'Ubaidalvs 
camp was at the Bab Jabiyah. (Bil., 121.) Bab as Saghir, the 
Small Gate, lies at the south-western angle of the city wall. At the 
present day the name is generally corrupted into Bab ash Shaghur, 
from the suburb of the name lying near it. Mukaddasi's Bab al 
Kabir, the Great Gate, is, presumably, what is otherwise called, in 
both ancient and modern days, Bab Kaisan. It opens at the 
south-eastern angle of the city wall. Between Bab Kaisan and 
Bab as Saghir, says Biladhuri, lay the army under Yazid ibn Abi 
Sufiyan during the great siege. After passing Bab ash Sharki, Bab 
Tuma (Gate of St. Thomas) is at the north-east angle ; and here, 
during the siege, were the troops under the Arab general 'Amr 
ibn al 'As, in later years the conqueror of Egypt. Bab an Nahr 
(the River Gate) must have opened on the Barada, and is probably 
the Bab al Faradis, mentioned by Biladhuri as the site of Shurah- 
bil's camp at the siege. It opens immediately to the north of the 
Great Mosque. Bab al Mahamaliyyin, the Gate of the Camel 
Litter-makers, is probably the Bab al Faraj mentioned by Ibn 
* Psalm cxlv. 13. The words ' O Christ ' being interpolated. 


Jubair (see below, p. 254), or else the modern Bab al Hadid, 
which, in Ibn Jubair's days, was called Bab an Nasr. Bab as 
Salam, or As Salamah, the Gate of Safety, which is first mentioned 
by Idrisi (see below, p. 239), opens on the river, in the north 
wall, between the Bab Tiima and the Bab al Faradis. 

During the century preceding Mukaddasi, we have several short 
notices of Damascus. One of the earliest is found in the Road 
Book of Ibn Khurdadbih, who wrote in 864. According to his 
view " Damascus is (the fabled city of) Irani of the Columns 
(Iram dhat al ^Amud\ The city is said to have been in existence 
before the days of Noah peace be on him ! and it was from 
Jabal Lubnan /the Lebanon) that Noah set forth in the ark, 
which came to rest again on Mount Al Judi in the Kurd country. 
When the children of Noah had multiplied, they abandoned the 
caves (Sardafr) made by King Nimrud ibn Kush, who was the 
first of the kings in the earth ; and he reigned over the Jews, who 
are the People of the Law." (I. Kh., 71.) 

Ya'kubi, in 891, writes : 

" Damascus is the capital of Syria. Its river is the Barada. 
Abu Ubaidah, in the year 14 (635), gained possession of the city 
by capitulation, entering by the Bab al Jabiyah ; while Khalid 
stormed the Bab ash Sharki. Damascus was the seat of the 
ancient Ghassanide kings. It contains also relics of the Jafnide 
princes. It was the capital of the Omayyads ; and (the Green 
Palace called) Al Khadra of Mu'awiyah, which was the seat of 
his Government, is here. The Mosque, the finest in Islam, was 
built by the Khalif al Walid " (Yb., 113.) 

In the epitome of Ibn al Fakih, the following notes are found 
on Damascus. The tenor of them has been copied by many 
subsequent writers : 

" Damascus has six gates ; these are : Bab al Jabiyah, Bab as 
Saghir, Bab Kaisan, Bab ash Sharki, Bab Tuma, and Bab al Faradis. 
All these existed from the days of the Greeks. When the Khalif 
al Walid had the intention of rebuilding the Mosque at Damascus, 
he sent for the Christians of Damascus, and said to them : ' We 
purpose to add your church to our Mosque ; but we will give you 
a place for a church elsewhere, and wheresoever you will.' 


" And the Christians sought to turn him from it, saying : 
4 Verily it is written in our books that he who shall destroy this 
church shall choke to death.' 

" But Al Walid cried out : ' Verily I will be the first to destroy 
it.' So he went up into the church, and there was a yellow dome 
there, and this he destroyed with his own hand. And the people 
pulled down other portions, as he set the example. After this he 
increased the size of the Mosque by the double. When the 
church had thus been destroyed, the King of Rum (Byzantium) 
wrote to the Khalif, saying : * Verily thou hast destroyed the 
church which thy father did purpose to preserve. Now, if thou 
didst right, thy father then did wrong ; and even if he did wrong, 
was it for thee to set thyself in opposition to him ?' 

" Al Walid did not know what to answer, but took counsel 
of the people, and sent to Al 'Irak even for advice in the matter. 
And the poet, Al Farazdak, said to him : ' O, Commander 
of the Faithful, answer in the words of Allah be He exalted and 
glorified ! And (remember) David and Solomon, when they gave 
judgment concerning a field when some people's sheep had caused 
a waste therein ; and We were witnesses of their judgment. And 
We gave Solomon insight into the affair ; and on both of them IVe 
bestowed wisdom and knowledge? (Kuran, xxi. 78, 79.) So 
Al Walid wrote to the King of Rum this verse for an answer, 
and received no reply. 

" Al Walid spent on the building of the Mosque at Damascus 
the land-tax (Kharaj) of the Empire during seven years. He 
finished the building thereof in the space of eight years. The ac- 
counts of the expenditure were brought in to him on the backs of 
eighteen camels, but he ordered them all to be burnt. There is pray- 
ing space for twenty thousand men in this Mosque, and there are six 
hundred golden chains for suspending the lamps. Of Zaid ibn 
Wakid, it is related that the Khalif al Walid made him overseer 
for the building of the Mosque at Damascus, and he discovered 
there a cave, the fact of which was made known to Al \Valid. By 
night the Khalif descended thereinto, and, behold, it was a beautiful 
chapel, 3 ells long, by the like across, and within lay a chest, 
inside of which was a basket, on which was written : This is the 


Head of John, the son of Zacharias. And after they had examined 
it, Al Walid commanded that it should be placed under a certain 
pillar in the Mosque that he indicated. So it was placed beneath 
this pillar, which is now inlaid with marble, and it is the fourth of 
those on the eastern side, and is known as 'Amud as Sakasik, the 
Pillar of Humility. At the time the head was laid here, Zaid, 
aforesaid, states that he saw the same, and that the hair and flesh 
thereon had nowise suffered decay. 

"The Minarets (Afaidhanah) which are in the Damascus Mosque 
were originally watch-towers in the Greek days, and belonged to 
the Church of John. When Al Walid destroyed this church, and 
turned the whole Area into a Mosque, he left these in their old 
condition. He who was afterwards the Khalif Mu'awiyah built the 
Khadra (Palace) in Damascus during the Khalifate of 'Othman, and 
while he himself was Governor of Syria." (I. F., 106-108.) 

From Mas'udi's great historical work, entitled 'Ihe Meadows 
of Gold, written in the year 943 A.D., some interesting notes on 
Damascus are to be gleaned : 

" The Khalif Mu'awiyah lies buried at the gate called Bab as 
Saghir; this tomb is still, in the present year, 332 A.H., much 
visited. Over it stands a building, which is opened every Monday 
and Thursday." (Mas., v. 14.) 

" In the year 87 (706) the Khalif al Walid began the construction 
of the Great Mosque at Damascus. When he had begun to 
build, they found in the court of the Mosque a tablet of stone, on 
which was an inscription in Greek, which none of the learned 
could read, till it was sent to Wahb ibn Munabbih, who pronounced 
that it had been written in the days of Solomon, the son of David; 
and Wahb read it. The Khalif al W T alid gave orders to set an 
inscription in gold on lapis lazuli in the court of the Mosque, and 
it ran as follows : Allah is our Lord, and we worship none but 
Allah. The servant of Allah, Al Watid, the Commander of the 
Faithful, hath ordered the building of this Mosque, and the destruc- 
tion of the church which was here in former days. Set up in Dhu-l- 
Hijjah of the year 87.* These words, written in gold, may be seen 

* Not a trace of this inscription is to be seen at the present day. Con- 
cerning Wahb ibn Munabbih, see p. 142. 


in the Mosque of Damascus in these our own days, in the year 
332 A.H." (Mas., v. 361.) 

Concerning Jairftn, after whom the eastern gate of the Mosque 
is named, Mas'udi supplies the following information : 

"Jairun was the son of Sa'ad, son of 'Ad, and he came to 
Damascus, and made it his capital. He transported thither a 
great number of columns of marble and alabaster, and constructed 
thereof a lordly edifice, which he called Irani dhdt al 'Amud, or 
Iram of the Columns. In our own days, in the year 332 A.M., this 
same edifice is to be seen in one of the markets at the Gate of the 
Great Mosque, called Bab Jairun. This Palace of Jairun was 
a wondrous building. Its gates were of brass. Part of it 
remains as it was, and part is incorporated in the Mosque." 
(Mas., iii. 271.) 

The geographer Istakhri, whose work was re-edited by Ibn 
Haukal in 978, gives the following account of Damascus. Ibn 
Haukal's work, it will be noted, is almost contemporaneous with 
the long description already quoted from Mukaddasi : 

" I Damascus (Dimishk) is the name of the province ; and its 
capital, called by the same name, is the most glorious of the cities 
of Syria. It lies in an extensive plain, with mountains round it, 
and water in plenty is on every hand. Trees and fields are 
continuous on all sides. This plain is called the Ghutah ; it 
extends a march across, by two marches in length, and nowhere in 
all Syria is there a more delightful place. The waters of Damascus 
take their rise at a spot under a church, known by the name of Al 
Fijah, to which place also descends the stream from 'Ain Barada 
in Jabal Sanir. And all along its banks are numerous springs. 
The spring of water at Fijah is an ell deep, by a fathom across. 
Below this spot there branches off a great canal, which the Khalif 
Yazid, son of Mu'awiyah, had dug. This is so deep that a man 
may plunge into its waters. Below this, again, there branch off 
(the two canals of) the Nahr al Mizzah and the Nahr al Kanat (or 
Kanawat). The main stream leaves the gorges at a place called 
An Nirab. This is said to be the place alluded to in the words 
of the Kuran (xxiii. 52): 'And we prepared for both (Mary 
and her Son) an abode in a lofty hill, quiet, and watered with 


springs.' Below this gorge is the main stream of the Barada 
river. In the middle of the city of Damascus a bridge crosses the 
river, for the stream is very broad, and so deep that a rider cannot 
ford it. Below the city, again, the river waters all the villages 
of the Ghutah. But from above, the water is conducted into ail 
the houses and streets and baths of the city. 

" Now, as to the Mosque at Damascus, there is none to equal it 
in all Islam, and on none other has so much been spent. The 
walls and the dome, which is above the Mihrab near the Maksurah, 
were built by the ancient Sabaeans, for this was their place of 
worship. After them it came into the hands of the Greeks, and 
they also held their worship there. From them it passed to the 
Jews, and the kings who were idolaters. In their day was slain 
John, the son of Zacharias, and they set up his head above the 
Gate of the Mosque, which is called the Bab Jairun. And after this 
the Christians conquered the city, and in their hands it became a 
church, wherein they were wont to worship. Now, when Islam 
came, and the place passed into the power of the Muslims, they 
turned it into a mosque, and over the Gate Jairun was set the 
head of Al Husain ibn 'Ali (grandson of the Prophet), in the very 
place where had been set the head of John the son of Zacharias 
of old. When it came to the days of the Khalif al Walid, the son 
of 'Abd al Malik, he built (the Mosque), laying down the pave- 
ment in marbles, facing the walls with variegated marble, and 
setting up marble pillars of various colours ; and the keystones (of 
the arches) and the capitals of the columns he overlaid with gold. 
The Mihrab also was gilt everywhere, and set with precious stones, 
while the ceiling was of wooden beams likewise gilt. All round 
the ceiling ran an inscription on a gold background, and this con- 
tinued round all the four walls of the Mosque. 

"It is said that there was spent on this Mosque the whole 
revenue of Syria for two (five or seven)* years. The roof of the 
Mosque is of leaden plates. When they wish to cleanse the 
Mosque they let in water, which flows over the whole of the floor, 
and before it is drawn off it has spread out into all the corners, 
for the area is perfectly level. In the time of the Omayyads, the 
Kharaj (or revenue from the land-tax) of Syria was 1,200,000 
* Other MSS. 


Dinars (another MS. gives the amount as 1,800,000 Dinars 
^600,000 or ^900,000). The violent and insurgent ways of the 
Damascenes are owing to the influence of their Star, which is the 
sign of Leo, and it has this effect when in the ascendant. The 
Damascenes are always revolting against their governors, and they 
are treacherous by nature. Leo in the ascendant is also the Star 
of Samarkand, Ardabil, Makkah, and Palermo." (Is., 59, 60; 
I. H., 114-116, and copied in part by A. F., 230.) 

Idrisi, writing in 1154 from the accounts he obtained of home- 
coming travellers, or read in books for, as above noticed (p. 7), it 
would not appear that he had ever himself travelled in Syria 
gives a most glowing account of Damascus and the great plain in 
which the city lies. He writes : 

"Damascus is the most beautiful city of Syria, the finest in 
situation, the most temperate in climate, the most hurnid in soil, 
having the greatest variety of fruits, and the utmost abundance of 
vegetables. The greater part of the land here is fruitful, and the 
most portion rich. Everywhere is seen the plain country, and the 
houses are high built. Damascus has hills and fields, which last are 
(in a plain) called the Ghautah (or Ghutah). The Ghautah is two 
marches long, with a breadth of one march ; and in it are farmsteads 
that resemble towns ; such are Al Mizzah, Daraya, Barzah, Harasta, 
Kaukaba, Balas, Kafar Susiyyah, and Bait Ilahiya, in which last is 
a mosque nearly as large as that of Damascus. From the western 
gate of Damascus goes the Wadi al Banafsaj, the Valley of Violets, 
the length of which is 1 2 miles, and the breadth 3 miles. It is 
everywhere planted with various sorts of fruit-trees. Five streams 
run through it, and in every one of its domains are from one to 
two thousand inhabitants. The Ghautah, too, is covered with 
trees and crossed by rivers, and its waters ramify and spread into 
all its orchards and farms. There are grown here all sorts of 
fruits, so that the mind cannot conceive the variety, nor can any 
comparison show what is the fruitfulness and excellence thereof, 
for Damascus is the most delightful of all God's cities in the whole 
world. The waters of the Ghautah come down in part from 'Ain 
al Fijah, which is a spring up in the mountains. The waters 
burst out high in the mountain-flank like a great river, making a 
frightful noise and a great rushing, which you may hear from afar. 


The water flows down from hence to the village of Abil, and from 
here attains the city. But before it comes to the city there branch 
off from it many well-known canals, such as the Nahr Yazid, Nahr 
Thaurah, Nahr Barada, Nahr Kanat al Mizzah, Nahr Banas, Nahr 
Sakt, Nahr Yashkur, and Nahr 'Adiyah. The water of the river 
of Damascus is not used for drinking purposes, for into its stream 
open the conduits that carry away the filth of the city, and the 
pipes from the wash-houses and the smaller waterways. The 
water of the river ramifies through all the city, and over its main 
stream is a bridge which the people cross, as likewise is the case 
by the other canals we have mentioned. From the riverside go 
the markets, and water is conducted to all parts of the city, entering 
the houses and the baths and the markets and the gardens. 

" In Damascus there is the Mosque, the like of which building 
exists in no other place of the earth, nor is any more beautiful in 
proportion, nor any more solidly constructed, nor any more 
securely vaulted, nor any more wonderfully planned, nor any 
more admirably decorated with all varieties of gold mosaic work, 
and enamelled tiles, and polished marble. The Mosque stands in 
a quarter of the city called Al Mizab. He who approaches it by 
the side of the Bab Jairun ascends thereto by large and broad 
steps of marble some thirty in number, while whoso would enter 
the Mosque from the side of the Bab al Barid, or from the Khadra 
passage-way, or from the Kasr (Castle), or from the Golden Stone 
(Hajar ad/i Dhahab\ or the Bab al Faradis, enters on the level of 
the ground and ascends no steps. There are in the Mosque many 
remains of past ages, such as the walls, and the dome, which is 
above the Mihrab near the Maksurah. They say that this dome 
was built by the Sabaeans, it having been their place of prayer ; 
after whom it passed into the hands of the Greeks, who celebrated 
therein the rites of their religion ; and after them it passed to 
certain kings who were idolaters, and then it served as a house for 
their idols. It then passed to the Jews, and in their days John, 
the son of Zachariah, was put to death, and his head was placed 
above the Gate of the Mosque, called the Bab Jairun. Next the 
Christians took the city, and, entering into possession, in their 
hands the edifice became a church, wherein they performed their 
services. Lastly came Islam, conquering the city, and the Muslims 


turned it into a Jami' Mosque. Now, when it came to the days of 
the Khalif al Walid, the son of 'Abd al Malik, of the House of 
Omayyah, he built the Mosque, and laid the floor in marble, and 
gilded the arches and the capitals, and erected a golden Mihrab 
(or niche), and set into all the walls jewels of various kinds. And 
all under the ceiling ran an inscription, which went round the four 
walls of the Mosque, of most beautiful workmanship and most 
elegant characters. It is said that this Khalif covered the outer roof 
with plates of lead, firmly joined together, and of most durable 
construction. Water was brought into (the Mosque) through 
conduits of lead, and when it was necessary to cleanse the 
Mosque, they opened the water-pipes, and in a most convenient 
manner flooded the whole of the Mosque court. They say that 
the Khalif al Walid, aforementioned, expended on the construction 
of the Jami' Mosque the revenues of Syria for two whole years. 

" Damascus has been rebuilt since the days of Islam. In 
ancient times there stood on the place it now occupies a town 
called Al Jabiyah. This was in the days of ignorance (before 
Islam), and Damascus was subsequently built in its place. The 
city has various gates ; among others, Bab al Jabiyah. Before this 
gate there are lands that are everywhere built over with houses, for 
a distance of some 6 miles in the length, and 3 miles in the 
breadth, and the whole of this space is covered with trees and 
houses, among which meander streams of water. Of other gates 
are Bab Tuma (Gate of St. Thomas), Bab as Salamah, Bab al 
Faradis over against which last is the convent known as Dair 
Murran and lastly, Bab as Saghii. 

" The City of Damascus contains all manner of good things, 
and streets of various craftsmen, with (merchants selling) all sorts of 
silk and brocade of exquisite rarity and wonderful workmanship 
all this, such that the like exists nowhere else. That which they 
make here is carried into all cities, and borne in ships to all 
quarters, and all capital towns both far and near. The manu- 
facture of the Damascus brocade is a wonderful art. It some- 
what resembles the best of the brocades of the Greeks, and is like 
to the cloths of Dastawa (in Persia), and rivals the work of Ispahan, 
being preferred for workmanship to the broideries of Nishapur 
for the beauty of the unvariegated raw-silk woof. Further, the 


Damascus work is better than the best of the (Egyptian) cloths 
from Tinnis, and the embroideries of Damascus take the prize of 
the most precious of stuffs, and of all beautiful things. You cannot 
equal them in any sort, nor set to them their like. 

" Within the City of Damascus there are many mills on the 
streams, and the wheat ground there is of extremely good quality. 
Also there are various kinds of fruits, which for sweetness you will 
not find the like elsewhere ; and it would be impossible to describe 
the abundance and the excellence and the lusciousness thereof. 
The inhabitants of Damascus have most plentiful means of liveli- 
hood, and all they require. The craftsmen of the city are in high 
renown, and its merchandise is sought in all the markets of the 
earth ; while the city itself is the most lovely of the cities of Syria 
and the most perfect for beauty." (Id., 12-15.) 

'All of Herat, who wrote in 1173, mentions among the places 
worthy of visitation at Damascus, the Hill (Ribwah), near Jabal al 
Kasiyun,* where Christ and the Virgin Mary dwelt ; also the 
Cavern of Blood, where Cain slew Abel. All this has been 
copied into Yakut (see below, p. 259). At a place called Mash- 
had al Akdam, south of Damascus, is shown a sacred foot- 
print, and near it the Tomb of Moses ; but this last, as 'AH 
remarks, is not authentic. In the court of the Damascus Mosque, 
the small edifice known as the Treasury (Bait al Mai) was 
pointed out in his day as being the Tomb of 'Ayishah, the 
Prophet's favourite wife. (A. H., Oxf. MS., ff. 16, 24.) 

In the year 1184 Damascus was visited by the Spanish Arab 
Ibn Jubair. He has devoted a large section of his Diary to a 
description of all the wonders of the city, which he duly visited 
during his sojourn there. These he enumerates and describes in 
the rhetorical style so much affected by the writers of this period. 
A full translation of his Diary would be tedious and occupy too 
much space ; and in the following rendering of the original Arabic, 
while everything of interest has, it is hoped, been preserved, the 

* The name of Jabal Kasiyun, the hill overhanging Damascus on the north- 
west, is said to be a corruption of Mons Casius. It should be noted, however, 
that no classical geographer speaks of a Mons Casius in the neighbourhood of 


pompous phraseology has been considerably condensed. The 
caravan with which Ibn Jubair travelled reached Damascus in 
July, 1184 (Second Rabi' A.H. 580), and they stopped at a 
place called Dar al Hadith, lying to the west of the Jami' Mosque. 
After speaking of the beautiful gardens, the excellent climate, and 
other such matters which have caused the city to be called the 
Bride of the Earth, Ibn Jubair notes that to the east extends the 
plain of the Ghautah, green and beautiful to see, the whole country 
round being a perfect Paradise of Earth. His description of the 
Great Mosque is as follows : 

" Of the wonders of the Jami' Mosque of Damascus is that no 
spider spins his web there, and no bird of the swallow-kind 
(Khutt&f) alights thereon. The Khalif al Walid was he who began 
to build the Mosque. He applied to the King of the Greeks at 
Constantinople to send him twelve thousand men of the artificers 
of his country, at the same time threatening him with chastise- 
ment if he delayed. But the King of the Greeks did as he was 
commanded with all docility, and many embassies went from the 
one Sovereign to the other, even as is related in the books of 
history. Then the Khalif began, and brought to a close, the 
building of the Mosque. And all its walls were overlaid with the 
mosaic work called Al Fusaifusa. With this ornamentation they 
depicted in varied colours all manner of objects, such as trees, 
making the semblance of their branches hanging down, all worked 
into a pattern. Also there were interlaced scrolls of mosaic, 
whereon were depicted various novel and wonderful subjects most 
astounding to behold ; so that, on account of the brilliancy and 
splendour, those who came were fain to cover their eyes. The 
sum expended on the building of the Mosque according to the 
authority of Ibn al Mughlt al Asadi, in his work descriptive of 
the building was four hundred chests, each chest containing 
28,000 Dinars, the sum total coming to 11,200,000 Dinars.* 

" It was the Khalif al Walid who took possession of that half 
of the Mosque which was still in the hands of the Christians, and 
threw the two portions into one. For in early days the building 

* Above five and a half millions sterling. The figures are doubtless 
imaginary, and some different readings occur in the MSS. 



was divided into two portions one half and it was the eastern 
belonged to the Muslims, and the other half namely, the 
western to the Christians. And this by reason that Abu 
'Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah had (during the siege) entered the city on 
the west quarter, and had reached the western side of the church, 
and here had made a capitulation with the Christians: while, in 
the meantime, Khalid ibn al Walid had taken the eastern part of 
the city by assault, and had from this side arrived at the eastern 
wall of the church. The eastern portion (of the Church of St. 
John) thus came by conquest into the hands of the Muslims, and 
they had made of it a mosque ; but the western half, where the 
treaty of capitulation had been granted, had remained to the 
Christians, and was their church until the time when Al Walid 
took it from them. He would have given them another church in 
exchange ; but the Christians would not agree, and they made objec- 
tion to the act of the Khalif, and forced him to take their church 
from them by force, and he himself began the work of demolishing 
the building. Now, it had been said that he who should pull 
down this church would become mad ; but, none the less, Al 
Walid made haste to begin, crying out, ' Let me be mad ; yea, 
mad in the work of God !' and so began to pull down the walls 
with his own hands. Then the Muslims hastened to his aid, and 
very soon the whole was demolished. Afterwards, during the 
days of the Khalif 'Omar ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz, the Christians laid 
a petition before the Khalif on this matter, and they brought 
forth the treaty which was in their hands, in which the Companions 
(of the Prophet who were present at the siege) had agreed to 
leave the western portion to them entirely. 'Omar would fain 
have given the Mosque back to the Christians, but the Muslims 
were of a mind to prevent him. So the Khalif gave the Christians 
in exchange for their consent to its remaining to the Muslims a 
great sum, and with this they went away content. It is said that 
the first who raised the Kiblah wall at this spot was the Prophet 
Hud peace be on him ! so, at least, says Ibn al Mughli. Ac- 
cording to the authority of the traditionist Sufiyan ath Thuri, one 
prayer said in this Mosque is equivalent to thirty thousand prayers 
said elsewhere. 


" We shall now proceed to enumerate the measurements of the 
Mosque, and to give the number of gates and windows therein. 
The measure of it in the length, from east to west, is 200 paces 
(khatwali], which is equivalent to 300 ells; and the measuie 
thereof in the width, from the Kiblah to the middle (of the north 
wall), is 135 paces, which is 200 ells. Its area in Maghribi 
Marja's* is 24 Marja's. And this is also the measurement of the 
Prophet's Mosque (at Al Madinah) ; except that in this last the 
length is in the direction from north to south, not east and west, 
as at Damascus. The aisles (bal&tati) of the (Main-building of the) 
Mosque adjoin the southern side of the court, and are three in 
number, running from west to east. The breadth of each aisle is 
1 8 paces each pace counting as i J ells and the said aisles are 
supported on sixty-eight columns. Of these, fifty-four are pillars 
(that stand alone), while eight are pilasters of gypsum, and two 
are built of marble, and are set into the wall which divides the 
aisles from the court. The remaining four columns are made of 
most exquisite marble set in with colpured stones in mosiac, each 
stone of which might be coveted as a ring-stone. Some of the 
Mihrabs (prayer-niches), and other buildings in the widest of the 
naves, are also most beautifully ornamented and proportioned. 
Such, for instance, is the Dome of Lead (Kubbat ar Kasa\\ and 
the Dome which is over the Mihrab. The piers under this are 
16 spans (shibr) broad, and 20 spans across; while between each 
of the piers is a space measuring 17 paces in the length, and in 
the breadth 13 paces. Each of these piers measures 72 spans in 

" All round three sides of the court is a colonnade (balat). 
On the eastern, western, and northern sides its breadth is 10 paces. 
The number of its columns is forty-seven, of which fourteen are 
pilasters of gypsum, and the remainder are free-standing. The 
breadth of the court, exclusive of the portion roofed over on the 
south and on the north, is 100 paces. The roofs of the Mosque 
buildings, externally, are all covered with sheets of lead. The 
most magnificent sight in this Jami' Mosque is the Kubbat ar 

* The Mat-ja was a land -measure in use throughout Spain and the Western 
Lands, and contained about seven square yards of superficies. 

1 6 2 


Rasas (the Dome of Lead), which is above the Mihrab in the 
centre of the building. Its summit towers high in the air, of a 
wonderful circumference ; so that it would seem as though it were 
a great temple. A central nave is below it, going from the 
Mihrab to the court ; and over this nave (as seen from the 
interior) are three domes namely, the dome which is close to the 
Mosque wall towards the court ; the dome which is over and 
adjacent to the Mihrab ; and the dome which is below (that is, 
forming the inner skin of) the Kubbat ar Rasas, rising between 
the other two. The Great Dome of Lead thus broods over the 
void; and, as you approach, you perceive an admirable effect. 
And the people have likened it to a flying Eagle (Nasr) the 
Dome itself being as the head ; the aisle below being the breast ; 
the half of the wall of the right aisle, and the half to the left, 
being the two wings of the Eagle.* The width of this main aisle 
leading towards the court is 30 paces. The people are wont to 
name this part of the Mosque An Nasr 'the Eagle' on 
account of this likeness. From whatever quarter you approach 
the city you see this Dome, high above all else, as though sus- 
pended in the air. The Mosque is situated on the northern side 
of the city. The number of gilt and coloured glass windows 
(called ShamasiyyaK] in the Mosque is seventy-four. In the inner 
dome, which is below the Dome of Lead, are ten. In the dome 
which is close to the Mihrab there are, together with those in the 
adjacent wall, fourteen such windows. In the length of the wall 
to the right of the Mihrab, and to the left of it, are forty-four. 
In the dome adjacent to the wall of the court are six. In the 
back of the wall towards the court are forty-seven windows.! 

"There are in the Mosque three Maksurahs (or railed-in 
spaces). The Maksurah of the Companions (of the Prophet) 
Allah accept them ! was the first Maksurah ever constructed in 
Islam, and it was built by the Khalif Mu'awiyah. Opposite the 
Mihrab thereof, on the right of him who faces the Kiblah point, 

* The Great Dome is itself known at the present day as the Kubbat an Nasr, 
the Dome of the Eagle. 

f Making altogether 121, not 74 ; the last 47 are presumably not counted 
as in the Mosque. 


is the Iron (late. Mu'awiyah used to enter the Maksurah 
through this, going to the Mihrab. Opposite the Mihrab, on the 
right, is the Place of Prayer of Abu-d Darda Allah accept 
him ! Behind the Maksurah was the Palace of Mu'awiyah. 
This, at the present day, is the Great Bazaar of the Coppersmiths, 
and it lies contiguous to the Kiblah (or south) wall of the 
Mosque. There is no bazaar to be seen anywhere finer than 
this, and none greater in length and in breadth. At the back of 
this bazaar, again, and not far off, is the Cavalry House (Dar al 
Khail), which dates from the same early epoch. It is, at the 
present day, let out to tenants, and is the place where the 
cloth-makers work. The length of the Maksurah of the Com- 
panions aforementioned is 44 spans, and its breadth is half its 
length. Near by it on the west, in the middle of the Mosque, is 
the New Maksurah which was built at the time when the half of 
the original edifice, which had been a church, was incorporated 
into the Mosque after the manner previously related. In this Mak- 
surah is the Pulpit of the Friday-Sermon, and the Mihrab of the 
public-prayers. The Mihrab of the Companions was originally 
in the centre of that portion of the church which belonged to 
the Muslims, and there was a wall of separation, which started 
from where the Mihrab now stands in the New Maksurah. 
When the whole of the church was made into a Mosque, the 
Maksurah of the Companions thus came to be on one side in the 
.eastern part ; while the New Maksiirah was erected in the middle 
of the Mosque, where stood the wall of separation before the two 
halves were united into one area. This New Maksurah is larger 
than that of the Companions. Further to the west, facing 
the wall, is another Maksurah. It goes by the name of Al 
Hanafiyyah ; and those of the Hanafite sect assemble here for 
holding their lectures, and this is their praying-place. Opposite to 
it is a chapel (Zawiyafi), built all round with' lattices of wood, as 
though it were a small Maksurah. On the eastern side, also, is a 
second chapel of a like appearance, and resembling a Maksurah. 
It was erected as a place for praying in by one of the Turkish 
Amirs of the State. It lies close up against the eastern wall. 
" There are in the Mosque many other similar chapels, 


which the scholars (Talib) use as places wherein to sit and copy 
(the Kuran) and for lectures, and for private assemblies ; and they 
are among the advantages this Mosque offers to students. In the 
wall of the Main-building of the Mosque, towards the court, which 
is surrounded by the colonnades, there are, on the south side of 
the court, twenty doors, set one beside the other in the length 
thereof. The upper parts of these are ornamented in plaster that 
is stamped out, even as is the work in the windows ; and the eye 
beholding the row of them will deem them a most beautiful sight. 
As to the colonnades that surround the Court on the other three 
sides, namely, north, east, and west, these are supported on 
columns, and above the columns are round arches resting on 
smaller columns, and these go all round the Court. This Court 
is one of the finest sights that can be seen. There is always therein 
a concourse of the people of the town, for they come here to meet 
and take their pleasure of conversation every eventide. You may 
see them there coming and going, from east to west, from the Bab 
Jairun to the Bab al Barid, walking and talking. 

" The Mosque has three Minarets. One is at the (south) western 
side. It is like a high tower resembling a spacious dwelling 
divided into chapels. These are locked off, for the Minaret is 
inhabited by Maghribin anchorites. The topmost of the chambers 
was the retreat of Abu Hamid al Ghazzali Allah have mercy on 
him ! and at the present day it is inhabited by a certain anchorite 
called Abu 'Abd Allah. The second Minaret is on the (south) 
eastern* side, and is of the same description with the last. The 
third is on the northern side, rising above the gate called Bab an 
Natinyyin (the Gate of the Sweetmeat-sellers). In the Court of 
the Mosque are three Cupolas. The one in the western part is 
the largest of the three. It stands on eight columns of marble, 
and rises like a bastion, and is ornamented with mosaic, and all 
kinds of coloured stones, so as to resemble a flower-garden for 
beauty. Over it is a leaden dome, like a great round oven-top. 
They say it was originally the Treasury of the Mosque, for be it 
known the Mosque possesses great wealth, and has lands producing 
various crops, the rent equalling in amount, as I have been told, 

The MS. read " western '' in error. 


to about 8,000 Dinars Syrian per annum (^4,000), which is 
15,000 Dinars Muminiyyah, or thereabouts. The second Cupola 
is smaller, and stands in the middle of the Court. It is hollow 
and octagonal, built of marble blocks fitted most wonderfully 
together. It is supported on four small columns of marble, and 
under it is a round grating of iron, in the centre of which is a 
copper spout, from which pours a water -jet that first rises and then 
falls again, as though it were a silver wand. The people are 
accustomed to put their mouths thereto, at the side, and drink 
therefrom. It is very beautiful, and is called the Water Cage 
(KrfsalMa). The third Cupola stands on the eastern side. It 
is supported on eight columns, like the large cupola (to the west), 
but it is smaller. 

" On the northern side of the Court is a great gateway leading 
into a large Mosque, in the centre of which is a court. There is 
here a tank of marble, large in size, and through it water is con- 
tinually flowing. An octagonal basin of white marble, which 
stands in the middle of the tank is supported on sculptured 
columns, and the water is brought from the tank up into the basin. 
This Mosque is called Al Kallasah (the Lime Furnace). * On 
the eastern side of the Court (of the Great Mosque) is another 
gateway leading to a most beautiful Mosque, most magnificently 
planned and built, which the Shi'ahs say is the shrine (or Mash- 
had) of the Khalif 'Ali ; but this is one of the most extraordinary 
of their inventions. 

" Another of their wonderful stories is what is related of a chapel 
in the western part (of the Mosque Court). At the angle, where 
the northern colonnade joins the western, is this chapel, which is 
covered above by a veil, and there is a veil also in front hanging 
down. They say this is the place of 'Ayishah (the wife of the 

* The Kallasah was the Chalk-pit or Lime-kiln to the north of the Mosque, 
originally ihe place where the lime was burnt that was used in the building. 
In 555 (1160) Sultan Niir ad Din Zanki built a college on this ground, and 
called the edifice Al Kallasah. It was burnt down in 570 (1174), together 
with the Madhanat al 'Arus (the Minaret of the Bride) of the Great Mosque 
near it. Saladin afterwards rebuilt the Kallasah. and himself was buried to the 
north of the building, in a mausoleum which still exists. See Quatremere, 
Sultans Mamlouks, ii. 287. 


Prophet), where she was wont to sit and listen to the Traditions. 
Thus 'Ayishah, as well as 'Ali, is found commemorated in Damas- 
cus. Now as to 'Ali, there may be some authority for the attribu- 
tion, for it is reported that he was seen by a person in a dream, 
praying here in the very place where the Shi'ahs have built their 
shrine. But as for the place that is called after 'Ayishah, there is no 
authority for it, and we have only mentioned it as being celebrated 
in the descriptions of the Great Mosque. Now the Kallasah 
Mosque is most beautiful, both within and without, and there are 
mosaics of gold, worked as has been before described. The 
building has three domes side by side. The Mihrab is one of the 
winders of Islam for beauty, admirably built, and is gilded 
throughout. In the centre -part of this Mosque are several smaller 
Mihrabs along the wall. These are set round with little pillars of 
a twisted pattern, and it is as though the twist had been made in 
a turning-lathe, and nothing can be seen more beautiful. Some 
are red, as though of coral. The renown of the Kiblah (Niche) 
of this Mosque, and also of its domes and its windows that are 
gilt, and coloured, is beyond report. 

" But to return to the Great Mosque. In the eastern angle of 
the New Maksurah, in the Mihrab, there is a great treasure- 
chamber, in which is kept one of the copies (of the Kuran) that 
belonged to the Khalif 'Othman. This is the copy that was sent 
into Syria (to Mu'awiyah, at the time of 'Othman's murder). This 
treasury is opened every day at prayer-time, and the people gain a 
blessing by touching the book, and by looking at it, and many go 
there so to do. 

" Now the Great Mosque has four gates. The southern gate is 
called Bab az Ziyadah (the Gate of the Addition).* There is a 
great hall, broad, and with mighty columns leading from it. In 
this are the shops of the bead-sellers, and the like trades, and it is 
a fine sight to see. From it you go into the Dar al Kh^il (the 
old Cavalry House aforementioned) ; and on the left, as you go 
out through this gate, is the Bazaar of the Coppersmiths. In the 
old time this was the Palace of the Khalif Mu'awiyah, and was 
called Al Khadra (the Green Palace). The eastern gate of the 
* As at present, see p. 231, 


Mosque is the largest of all the gates, and is called the Bab Jairun. 
The western gate is called the Bab al Barid (the Gate of the 
Post). The northern gate is called the Bab an Natifiyyin (the 
( kite of the Sweetmeat-sellers). To east and to west and to north 
of these gates are broad halls, and each of these leads to one 
of the great gateways which were (in ancient times) the entrances 
into the church, and these halls remain standing even to this 
present day. 

" The finest of these halls is that which adjoins the Bab Jairun 
(or eastern gate of the Mosque). You go out from this gate into 
a long and broad portico, in the front part of which are five door- 
ways, arched over, and there are six tall columns here. To the 
left hand of this is a large and finely-built oratory (Mash-hacl) in 
which was kept the head of Al Husain, before it was transported 
to Cairo. Opposite to this is a small mosque called after the 
Khalif 'Omar ibn Abd al 'Aziz. In the oratory there is running 
water. In front of the portico (of the Bab Jairun) are steps 
whereby you go down to the hall. This last is like a great fosse, 
and leads to a gateway of mighty elevation, with sides unwalled, 
but set all round with columns that are like palms for height, and 
like mountains for firmness. On either side of this hall are set 
columns, among which are the rows of shops occupied by the 
perfumers and the like. Up above is a second row of shops and 
chambers for letting, and from these you can look down into the 
hall. All round and about, above this, is the terrace roof, where 
the occupiers of the chambers and the shops pass the night (in the 
summer- heats). In the centre of the hall is a large tank rimmed 
round with marble ; and over it is a dome that is supported on 
marble columns. Round this dome, up above, is a border of lead 
that is very broad, and the dome is open to the sky. In the 
middle of the marble tank below, is a spout of brass which throws 
up water with great force, and it rises into the air for a man's 
height or more. All round it are smaller spouts which throw up 
water also, so that the whole looks like the branches of a silver 
tree, and is most beautiful to watch. 

"On your right hand, coming out of the Bab Jairun, in the wall 
of the portico fronting you, is a gallery, which has the form of a 


great archway, and set round it are arches of brass, in which open 
small doors, in number according to the number of the hours of 
the day. Through the working of a piece of mechanism, when 
one hour of the day is passed, there fall two weights of brass from 
the mouths of two falcons fashioned in brass, who stand above 
two brazen cups, set one under each of the birds. One of the 
falcons is below the first of the doors, and the second below the 
last of them. Now the cups are perforated, and as soon as the 
balls have fallen, they run back through a hole in the wall 
to the gallery. The falcons appear to extend their necks 
when holding the balls, leaning towards the cups, and to throw 
the balls off with a quick motion, so wondrous to see that one 
would' imagine it was magic. With the falling of the two balls 
into the two cups, there is heard a sound (as of striking) a bell ; 
and thereupon the doorway, which pertains to the hour that has 
elapsed, is shut with a brass door. A similar action goes on for 
each of the hours of the day ; and when all the hours of the day 
are passed, all the doors are shut. When all the (day) hours are 
passed, the mechanism returns to its first condition. For the 
hours of the night tkey have another mechanism. It is this in 
the bow of the great arch, which goes over the (small) arches 
(with the doors), just mentioned, are twelve circles cut out in the 
brass, and over each of these openings, in the wall of the gallery, 
is set a plate of glass. This is all so arranged as to lie behind the 
doors (for the day-hours) above mentioned. Behind each glass is 
a lamp-glass, in which is water set to run for the space of one hour. 
When the hour is past, the light of the lamp, coming down, 
illumines the glass, and the rays shine out of the round opening 
in front of it, and it appears to the sight as a red circle. This 
same happens to each circle in turn, till all the hours of the night 
are passed, and then all the circles have red light in them. There 
are eleven workmen (belonging to the Mosque) who attend to this 
gallery, and keep the mechanism in order, and see to the opening 
of the doors, and the running back of the weights into their proper 
places. This (piece of mechanism) is what the people call Al 

* The reading of the word is uncertain, it is probably an Arabic corruption 
'//, a machine. 


" The hall that is before the Western Gate (of the Mosque, 
called Bab al Barid) has in it the shops of the greengrocers and 
perfume-sellers, and there is here the market where they sell 
flowers. At its upper end is a great gate, to which, you ascend 
by steps, and it has columns that rise high in the air. Below the 
steps are two water-tanks, round in shape, one lying to the right and 
one to the left. Each water-tank has five spouts which pour the 
water into a long trough made of marble. The hall at the North 
Gate (of the Mosque, called Bab an Natifiyyin) has in it a chapel 
(Zawiya/i) that stands on a platform, which is set round with a 
wooden lattice, and it serves as a house for the school-teachers. 
To the right, in going out of the hall, is a Cloister (KhanikaJi) 
built for the Sufis. In its midst is a cistern. They say this 
Cloister was of old the palace of the Khalif 'Omar ibn 'Abd al 
Aziz ; but we shall return to this matter later. The cistern in the 
centre of the Cloister has water running through it, and there are 
here latrines with running water in the cells. On the right hand 
as you go out (of the Great Mosque, by) the Bab al Barid, is the 
Madrasah of the Shafi'ites. In its centre is also a cistern with 
water running therein, and there are likewise latrines here, with 
water running through them as above described. In the court 
(of the Great Mosque), between the cupolas aforementioned, are 
two columns set some distance apart, and on both are stands of 
brass of considerable height, and made of lattice-work, cut out in 
the most beautiful manner. These are lighted up on the middle 
night of the month of Sha'ban, and they shine as though they 
were the two Pleiads. The concourse of the people of the city 
here on the above-named night is even greater than is seen here 
on the night at the close of the fast-month of Ramadan. 

" There are round the Mosque four water-tanks, one on each 
side, and each water-tank is like a great palace set round with 
chambers for latrines, with water running in each. In the length 
of the court there is also a tank of stone, and down all its length 
are a number of spouts (for the ablution). One of the water-tanks 
aforesaid is in the hall of the Bab Jairun, and it is the largest of 
the four, and there are here over thirty chambers (for the ablu- 
tion). And besides this great tank there are here two large 


cisterns, one lying at a distance from the other, and the circum- 
ference of each is about forty spans, with the water spouting in 
each. The second great tank is in the hall of the Bab an Nati- 
fiyyin, opposite the school. The third is on your left as you go 
out of the Bab al Barid ; and the fourth on your right going out 
of the Bab az Ziyadah. These are all of great convenience to 
strangers. Further, in all parts of the city are found water-tanks 
in all the streets and bazaars for the convenience of all comers. 
Of the oratories and monuments of Damascus is the shrine of 
the Head of John (the Baptist), the son of Zakariyyah. The 
head is buried in the Mosque in the south aisle, facing the right- 
hand corner of the Maksurah of the Companions. There is over 
it an ark of wood, set round with columns, and above hangs a 
lamp of crystal, concave in shape, like the lid of a pot. It is not 
known whether this is of 'Irak, or of Tyrian glass, or perchance it 
is of some other ware. 

" Among other celebrated sanctuaries of Damascus is the birth- 
place of Ibrahim (Abraham). This is shown on the hillside of 
Jabal Kasiyun at a village called Barzah. Barzah is a fine village, 
and the mountain is a blessed one from all time, for the prophets 
have all ascended it to pray thereon. Jabal Kasiyun lies to the 
north of the city, and about a league distant. The birthplace (of 
Abraham) is a cave, long and narrow, and they have built a 
mosque and a high minaret over it. Abraham used to view the 
stars from the cave, also the sun and the moon, as is mentioned in 
the Kuran (chapter vi., verses 76-78). There are seventy thousand 
prophets buried here, and the burial-grounds lie all round. In 
Jabal Kasiyun, and lying west about a mile or more from the cave 
of the birthplace (of Abraham), is a cave called the Cave of Blood, 
because above it in the mountain is seen the blood of Abil (Abel), 
whom his brother Kabil (Cain) slew. The mark of the blood 
comes down through half the mountain as a red streak, and looks 
like a road in the hillside. There is a mosque here. This is the 
place from which Kabil went and sought his brother to slay him, 
and afterwards he carried his body into the cave. Here, it is 
said, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Lot, Job, and the Prophet 
(Muhammad) all made their prayers. There is a fine mosque 


built over this place, to which you ascend by steps. It is like a 
round gallery, and a trellis-work of wood goes round it, and there 
are chambers here for visitors to sojourn in. It is opened every 
Thursday, and lighted up, as also is the cave below. On the 
summit of the mountain is a cave called after Adam, and there is 
a building here too. Down at the foot of the mountain is the 
cave called the Cave of Famine, for seventy prophets died there 
of hunger. They had one loaf among them, and they kept passing 
it from one to another, none eating of it. A mosque is built over 
this place. 

" At the summit of the mountain, and above all the gardens, and 
lying west of the city, is the hill mentioned in the Kuran (chapter 
xxiii., verse 52) as the place where the Messiah dwelt with His 
mother. It is one of the most beautiful of places. It resembles 
a high castle ; you ascend to it by steps. The dwelling-place (of 
the Virgin) is a small cave like a little chamber. Opposite is the 
place, as it is said, where Al Khidr (Elias) prayed. It has small 
iron gates ; also a mosque built near by, and a tank most beauti- 
ful to behold with the water pouring down into it. The water 
falls over a water-wheel placed in the wall, and flows into a fine 
marble basin below. Behind it are latrines with running water. 
This hill lies above the gardens before mentioned, through which 
the water therefrom runs, forming brooks. The water divides 
into seven streams, each going its own way ; the largest of these 
is called Thaura. It rises above the hill, and has 'made a channel 
in the hard rock, forcing its way through a place like a tunnel. A 
strong swimmer can plunge in above, and come out below, swim- 
ming right under the hill. To do this, however, is very dangerous. 
These gardens below the hill lie in the lands to the west of the 
city, and they are most beautiful to see. To the west of the city, 
also, is a cemetery, where many celebrated people are buried of 
the Companions of the Prophet and others. The Mash-had called 
after 'Ali is here. 

" The Tombs of the Khalifs of the Omayyads are said to be 
those lying opposite (the city gate called) the Bab as Saghir, close 
to the cemetery aforementioned. There is over them at the 
present day a building which is used for travellers to sojourn in. 


Among the celebrated Oratories, also, is the Masjid al Akdam 
(the Mosque of the Footprints). It lies at a distance of two 
miles from the city, and to the south, beside of the high-road 
going down to the Hijjaz and Egypt. In this Mosque is a small 
chamber in which is an inscription, stating that a certain one of 
the Companions saw in sleep the Prophet, who told him that this 
was the tomb of the brother of Moses. A hillock of red sand 
may be seen on the high-road not far from this place, and it lies 
between (the villages of) Ghaliyah and Ghuwailiyah. The people 
say the light never fades from this blessed place, where is the 
tomb aforesaid. Now, as to the Footprints, they are on a stone in 
the road, with a sign-post pointing thereto, and you find a foot- 
mark on each stone. The number of these Footprints is nine. 
They are said to be the marks of Moses' feet ; but Allah alone 
knows the truth of this. 

"Damascus city has eight gates: i. Bab Sharki, the Eastern 
Gate. It has beside it the White Minaret (or tower), on which they 
say Jesus peace be on Him ! will descend when He comes in 
glory ; for He will descend at the White Tower (or minaret) to 
the east of Damascus. 2. Bab Turna (Gate of St. Thomas), next 
the former. It also opens in the eastern quarter. 3. Bab as 
Salamah, next thereto. 4. Bab al Faradis, to the north. 5. Bab 
al Faraj, next thereto. 6. Bab an Nasr, to the west. 7. Bab al 
Jabiyah, likewise to the west. 8. Bab as Saghir, opening to the 
south-west. The Great Mosque of Damascus lies somewhat in 
the northern part of the city. The various quarters lie all round, 
and are of great extent, except in the north, and in what lies to 
the south, where the houses cover a smaller area. The town has 
a long shape ; its streets are narrow and dark. The houses are 
built of mud and reeds, one story above another, for which 
reason fire catches them swiftly. They are all three stories high, 
and this is necessitated by the great number of the population ; 
for there are amassed here in Damascus the inhabitants of three 
towns, and it is the most populous city in the world. Its beauty 
is all external, not internal. There is in the city a church belong- 
ing to the Greeks, and by them greatly venerated. It is called 
the Church of Mary (Kanisah Maryam), and, except the (Church 


at) Jerusalem, there is none other held in such esteem by them. 
It is finely built, and contains many wonderful pictures. The 
place is in the possession of the Greeks, and no one molests them 

" Damascus has about twenty Madrasahs (colleges), and there 
are here two hospitals (or Maristans) the old and the new. The 
new is the larger and better built of the two. It has revenues 
amounting to about 15 Dinars (^7 los.) a day. There are 
physicians to attend the sick, and the expenses of food and 
medicines are provided. The old Maristan is on a like footing, 
but more people go to the new. The old Maristan is situated to 
the west of the Mosque. One of the finest colleges in the world 
is the Madrasah of Nur ad Din Allah's mercy be on him ! In 
it is his tomb may Allah illumine it ! It is a palace among 
palaces. Water runs through it, and falls into a tank. There are 
also in the city many cloisters belonging to the Sufis. The 
greatest that we saw is that known as Al Kasr, very high built, 
and beautiful. Damascus possesses a castle (Kal'ah) where the 
Sultan lives, and it stands isolated in the modern quarter of the 
city. It is close over against the gate called Bab al Faraj, and 
in it is the Sultan's Mosque. Near the castle, outside the 
town towards the west, are two Maidans (horse-courses) that are 
like pieces of silk-brocade rolled out, for their greenness and 
beauty. The river flows between the two Maidans, and there is 
a grove of poplar-trees extending beside them most beautiful to 
behold. The Sultan is wont to go out there to play the game of 
Mall (As Sawalijah\ and to race his horses ; and nothing can be 
pleasanter to see than this. Every evening the Sultan's sons go 
out there to shoot with the bow, and to race, and to play Mall. 
In Damascus, too, are nearly one hundred Hammam's (hot-baths), 
both in the city and in the suburbs ; and there are nearly forty 
houses for ablution where water always flows ; and nowhere is 
there any town more convenient to the stranger. 

"The markets of Damascus are the finest in the world, 
and the best organized. Especially so are the Kaisariyyahs,* 

* The word Kais&riyyah denotes a bazaar for merchants, or a building, like 
a Caravanserai for the storing of merchandise. It is derived from the Greek 


which are built high like hospices, and closed by iron gates like the 
gates of a castle. Each Kaisariyyah stands isolated, and at night 
it is shut off. There is also a market called the Great Market, 
which extends from the Bab al Jabiyah to the Bab ash Sharki (all 
along the Straight Street). There is here a small house that has 
become a place for prayer. In the south part of it is a stone on 
which they say Abraham broke the idols which his father had 
brought to market to sell. The Palace of the Khalif 'Omar ibn 
'Abd al 'Aziz is to-day a Cloister for the Sufis. It stands near 
the Hall of the North Gate (of the Great Mosque), called Bab 
an Natinyyin. 'Omar bought the ground, and built the palace, 
and ordered that he should be buried in it, and that they should 
recite prayers there. 

"And now as regards the ascent to the top of the Dome of 
the Great Mosque, which rises erect in the midst of the building. 
Verily the entrance to the same, and into the interior where is the 
inner dome like a sphere within a larger sphere is from the 
Mosque. We ascended thereto, with a number of friends, at early 
dawn, on Monday, the i8th day of the First Jumadi. We went up 
by a ladder in the western colonnade that goes round the court, 
at a place where had been a tower in former days, and walked 
over the flat roof of the Mosque. The roof is covered with large 
' sheets of lead (as aforementioned), the length of each sheet being 
4 spans, and the width 3 spans. After passing over the flat roof 
we came to the Dome, and mounted into it by a ladder set there ; 
and doing so it almost happened that we had all been seized with 
dizziness. We went into the round gangway, which is of lead, 
and its width is but of 6 spans, so that we could not stand there, 
fearing to fall over. Then w r e hastened on to the entrance into 
the interior of the Dome, passing through one of the grated 
windows which open in the lead-work ; and before us was a 
wondrous sight. We passed on over the planking of great wood 
beams which go all round the inner and smaller dome, which is 

Kcttaapfia, in the sense of the Coesarian (market) ; and the word was only in 
use in those Arab countries which were of old subject to the Byzantines, ,?.., 
Syria, Egypt, and Morocco. In the further East Baghdad and Persia the 
term was not employed. 


inside the outer I .caclcn Dome, as aforesaid, and there are here two 
arched windows, through which you look down into the Mosque 
below. From here the men who are down in the Mosque look as 
though they were small children. This dome is round like a sphere, 
and its structure is made of planks, strengthened with stout ribs of 
wood, bound with bands of iron. The ribs curve over the dome, 
and meet at the summit in a round circle of wood. The inner 
dome, which is that seen from the interior of the 'Mosque, is 
inlaid with wooden panels, set one beside the other, touching. 
They are all gilt in the most beautiful manner, and ornamented 
with colour and carving. Of these wooden panels which cover 
the interior of the dome, the length of each is not less than 
6 spans, with a breadth of 4 spans ; but to the eye below they 
twinkle like points, and seem to be only one or two spans across, 
on account of their great height from you. The Great Leaden 
Dome covers this inner dome that has just been described. 
It also is strengthened by wooden ribs bound with iron bands. 
The number of these ribs is forty-eight, and between each rib is a 
space of 4 spans : the whole most wonderfully arranged. The 
ribs converge above, and unite in a centrepiece of wood. The 
circumference of the Leaden Dome is 80 paces, which is 
260 spans. Under the Double Dome is the aisle called the 
Eagle (An Nasr), stretching out, and roofed over, leading towards 
the Maksurah. This part is all ceiled over, and ornamented 
with plaster-work, with numberless wooden teams, let in, and 
with the arches below. The piers supporting the Double Dome 
are let into the walls. And in these walls are stones, each of 
which weighs a full Kantar (or about 325 Ibs.), and these elephants 
could not move. Most wonderful is it how they were raised to 
their present high place, and this by human power only, and how 
man's strength was capable thereof. The Great Double Dome 
rests on a circular base built of mighty blocks, above which rise 
short and thick pilasters built up of large stones of a very hard 
kind ; and between every two pilasters is pierced a window. 
Thus the windows extend all round the circle under the dome. 
This Double Dome appears like one dome to the eye from below; 
for the one is inside the other, and the outer dome only is of lead. 



Of the wonders of the place it is that we saw no spiders in the 
framework of the domes, and they say there are none here at all. 
Also no birds of the species of swallows ever enter the Mosque. 
This Dome of the Damascus Mosque is the finest in the world, 
except, maybe, the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem, which is said 
to be the most beautiful." (I. J., 262-297.) Ibn Jubair did not, 
unfortunately, visit Jerusalem. 

Yakut, writing in. 1225, devotes many pages of his great Geo- 
graphical Dictionary to the subject of Damascus. Besides the 
chief article, there are numberless minor notices scattered up and 
down the voluminous work, wherever, in the alphabetical arrange- 
ment, mention occurs of some one of the Damascus mosques or 
gates or other monuments. Much that is mentioned is copied 
from earlier geographers, what is new matter is epitomized in the 
following pages : 

" Damascus," says Yakut, " called Dimishk, or Dimashk, is the 
capital of Syria, and it is the Garden of the Earth. The city 
was, some say, so called because it was said Diniashkti, ' they 
hastened,' in its building. I )amascus is sometimes referred to in 
poetry by the name Jillik. According to some this is the name of 
all the districts taken together of the Ghautah. According to 
others, Jillik is the name of a certain village in the Ghautah, 
where, it is said, there was the statue of a woman, from which 
water poured forth; or else again Jillik is the City of Damascus 
itself." (Yak., ii. 104; Mar., i. 261.) 

" Damascus was founded by Dimashik, son of Kani, great-grand- 
son of Sam (Shem), son of Nun, or some say by Buyutasf. It was 
founded at the end of the year 3145 of the Creation. The age of 
the world is, they say, to be of 7,000 years. Abraham the Friend, 
was born five years after its founding. Others say Damascus 
was built by Jairun ibn Sa'ad ibn 'Ad, grandson of Shem, who 
called it Iram dhat al 'Amud (Irani of the Columns). The pro- 
phet Hud dwelt here, and he built the wall to the south of the 
Jami' Mosque. Another tradition is that Al 'Azar, Abraham's 
servant, built Damascus. By another tradition Dimashik, Filastin 
(Palestine), Ailiya (^Elia, Jerusalem), Hims and Al Urdunn (the 
Jordan), were all sons of Iram, son of Shem, son of Noah. 


" Adam, they say, lived at Bait Anat, and Eve at Bait Libya ; 
Abel (Hcibil) at Mukra with his flocks, and Cain (Kabil) at Kaninah 
in the midst of his fields. All these places lie round Damascus. 
At the place in the Jami' Mosque, now occupied by the gate called 
the Bab as Sa'at, is a large stone, whereon in ancient days Cain 
and Abel laid their offerings. If these were accepted (of the Lord) 
fire was wont to descend to consume them, but if they were not 
acceptable (the offerings) remained untouched. Now Abel had 
come with a fat ram of his flock, and he placed it on the stone, 
and the fire came down and burnt it up. Then came Cain, with 
wheat of his crops, and placed it also on the stone, but it remained 
in its (unburnt) condition. So Cain envied his brother, and he 
followed him to the mountain, which overlooks the plain of 
Damascus, and is now known as Jabal Kasiyun ; and he wished 
to slay him, but did not know how to accomplish the deed. Then 
Iblis (Satan) came to him, and took up a stone and began to 
strike his head therewith. And when (Cain) saw this, he took a 
stone and struck therewith the head of his brother Abel, and thus 
slew him there on Jabal Kasiyun. I, Yakut, have seen there a 
stone on which was a mark like blood, and the people of Syria say 
that this is the stone with which Cain slew Abel, and that this red 
mark that is on it is the mark/of Abel's blood. In front of the 
stone is a cave, which is good to visit. It is called the Cave of 
the Blood from this reason ; and I, myself, have made visitation 
there, on the slope of the mountain called Jabal Kasiyun. Ac- 
cording to some, Damascus was the site of Noah's dwelling-place, 
and he took the wood for the ark from the Lebanon Mountains. 
Further, he entered into the ark at the place called 'Ain al Jarr, of 
the Bika' District. Some say that Abraham, too, was born at a 
village in the Ghautah of Damascus, called Barzah, lying in the 
Jabal Kasiyun. According to a tradition of the Prophet, Jesus 
peace be on Him ! will descend (on the Last Day) upon the 
White Minaret to the east of Damascus, which is in the Mosque 
beside the Eastern Gate, called Bab ash Sharki. 

" Wonderful is the water-supply of Damascus, and the public 
fountains are innumerable. The suburbs without the walls are 
equal to the town itself in extent. Damascus was first conquered 



in the month Rajab of the year 14. Khalid stormed through the 
Eastern Gate, and met Abu 'Ubaidah, who had made a capitula- 
tion with the inhabitants, and had entered the city in company 
with the other commanders through the three Western Gates of 
the city. The Mosque of Damascus verily is the most beautiful 
building in the world. It was built by the Khalif al Walid ibn 
'Abd al Malik, who was much addicted to the building of mosques. 
The building was begun in the year 87, or 88 as some say. Now, 
when it was Al Walid's intention to build it, the Khalif brought 
together the Christians of Damascus, and said to them, * We wish 
to increase our Mosque by your Church, that is to say, the Church 
of Yuhanna (John), and we will give you another church where- 
soever ye will ; or if ye will, we will double you what would be the 
price of the land.' But the Christians refused, and they brought 
the Treaty of Khalid ibn al Walid, and the promise (he had given 
them). And they said further : * Verily, we have found in our 
books that if any demolish this (Church) he shall choke to death. 7 
Then cried out Al Walid unto them : ' I am he who will be the 
first to demolish it !' And standing up, he began to demolish the 
yellow cupola which was above the place where he sat, and the 
Muslims round him did the like. Thus the Khalif increased the 
size of the Mosque as he had desired. And so much material 
was gathered together for the building that it was impossible to 
use it all, and the expenditure of monies was thus lightened unto 
him. The Khalif al Walid built four gates to the Mosque. To 
its east, Bab Jairun ; to its west, Bab al Barid ; to its south, Bab 
az Ziyadah ; with the Bab an Natifaniyyin (or Gate of the Syrup- 
sellers) lying opposite thereto. And the Bab al Faradis (the Gate 
of the Gardens) was in the hinder part to the south. 

" Ghaith ibn 'Ali al Atmanazi relates that Al Walid ordered 
them to search down in the fosse for the ancient foundation of the 
walls of the original building. And while they were digging they 
discovered a wall of masonry running in the direction of the fosse 
and along it. They reported to Al Walid of this, and informed 
him of the solidity of the masonry of this wall, asking for permis- 
sion to build (the Mosque wall) upon it. But the Khalif answered : 
' I should agree thereto were I indeed assured in the matter of the 


solidity thereof, and of the firmness of its foundations ; only I 
cannot be convinced of the solidity of this wall until ye have dug 
down along its face till ye reach moisture. If then it be found still 
firmly based, I am content that ye build on it, otherwise leave it 
side.' So they dug on down along the face of the wall, and found 
a gate, over which was a slab of granite, on which was cut an 
inscription. Every endeavour was made to get this read, till one 
was found who told them that the writing was in the Greek tongue. 
Now the interpretation of this inscription, which was on the face 
of the (slab) was as follows : 

" After the world hath renewed its youth, the signs having been 
manifested of what is to come to pass, it is necessary there be a 
renewal thereof ; even as have foretold those aged in life and stricken 
in years. And the ivorship of the Creator of created things shall be 
instituted here, w \en the lover of hcrses commands the building of 
this Temple of his own monies ; and this shall be after the passing 
of seven thousand and nine hundred years since the days of the 
People of the Column. And if the builder live to enter therein, 
the building will be named as the best of acts. And so to ye all, 
Peace ! 

" Now the ' People of the Columns ' (Ahl al Ustuwan) were a 
sect of the ancient philosophers who lived of old at Ba'albakk. 

"They relate that Al Walid spent on the building (of the 
Mosque) the revenues of the Empire for seven years. And when 
they brought him the accounts of what had been spent on it, 
carried on the backs of ten camels, he ordered that all should be 
burnt, and would not look at any of them, saying : ' These sums 
we have laid out for Allah's sake, and verily we will not take any 
count of them.' Of the wonders of the Mosque it may be told 
that if a man were to sojourn here a hundred years, and pondered 
each day on what he saw, he would see every day something he 
had not seen in former days, namely, of the beauty of the work- 
manship and choice things set here. They relate that the total of 
the price of the cabbages that the workmen ate (during the building) 
was 6,000 Dinars (^3,000). Now at one time the people 
murmured at the great sums that the Khalif expended, saying 
that he had taken the public treasure of the Muslims, and had 


spent it on what was not worthy of the spending. Then the 
Khalif went into the pulpit of the Mosque, and spake to them, 
saying, ' It hath come to me that ye say so and such things ; now 
verily in your Treasury there is a sum equivalent to eighteen years' 
revenue, to which ye have none of you contributed a single grain of 
corn.' And the people kept silence hereafter, and said naught. It is 
said the work lasted nine years, and that during this time 10,000 
men worked daily at the cutting of marble. There were (in the 
Mosque) 600 chains of gold. When the whole was finished Al 
Walid ordered that it should be roofed with lead. And they 
brought lead from all lands to accomplish this, but at the last a 
piece (of the roofing) remained, for which they could find no lead, 
except some that belonged to a certain woman, and she refused to 
sell it except for its weight in gold. And the Khalif commanded 
them to buy it of her, even though it were (at the price of) double 
the weight in gold. And they did so. But when she was to 
receive the price, she said : ' Verily I had imagined our master 
was a tyrant in accomplishing this, his building ; but now I have 
seen his justice, and I bear witness to you before Allah of the 
same.' And she returned to them the price. When Al Walid 
knew of this he commanded that they should inscribe on the (lead) 
plates which she had given, the words, * This belongs to Allah? 
ordering further that they should not set them among those that 
bore his name. It is said they spent on the ornament of the 
Vine, that is on the Kiblah side of the Mosque, 70,000 Dinars 

" Musa ibn Hammad al Barbari relates that he saw in the 
Mosque of Damascus an inscription in gold on the glass (of the 
window), where was written the Chapter (cii. of the Kuran), 
being the words, ' The desire of increasing riches occupieth you, 
till ye come to the grave,' will) the verses that follow down to the 
end of the chapter. And he saw a red jewel that was set in the 
letter K that formed part of the word Al MakCibir (' the grave '), 
one of the words of that verse of the Kuran, and he inquired the 
reason thereof. It was told him that Al Walid had a daughter 
to whom this jewel had belonged, and that when she died, 
her mother had ordered that this jewel should be buried with 


her in her grave. But the Khalif gave command on the matter, 
and they set it in the K of the word Makdbir of the verse afore- 
said. And he afterwards assured the girl's mother that he had set 
it in ' the grave,' and she was confounded and silent when she saw 
what had been done. A certain writer of past times states that 
the Mosque was originally built with two rows, of marble columns, 
one above the other, the lower row being large columns, and 
those above being smaller ; and the space between the two rows 
was filled by pictures representing every town and tree in the 
world in Mosaic of gold and green and yellow. Over the Kiblah 
side of the Mosque is the dome called Kubbat an Nasr (the Eagle's 
Dome), and there is nothing in all Damascus finer or higher than 
the sight to be obtained from it. Now the Mosque of Damascus 
continued in the splendour and magnificence we have described 
until there befell the fire of the year 461 (1069), when much of its 
beauty was destroyed. 

"Of old times, when 'Omar ibn 'Abd al Aziz came to the 
Khalifate (in the year 717 A.D.), he said: 'I consider the wealth 
that is in the Mosque at Damascus to be of excess, and if it were 
expended on other matters it would be more fitting. Verily, that 
which may be spared should be taken and returned to the public 
treasury. And I will strip off these marbles and mosaics, and I 
will take away these chains, setting in their stead ropes.' Now the 
people of Damascus were greatly perturbed thereat ; and at this 
same time it so happened that there arrived at Damascus ten 
ambassadors from the king of the Greeks, and they begged per- 
mission to enter and visit the Mosque. Permission was granted 
them to enter by the Bab al Barid, and a certain attendant was 
sent to accompany them who knew their tongue, in order to listen 
to their words, and report what they should say to 'Omar, they 
knowing nothing thereof. The envoys passed through the court 
until they came in front of the Kiblah, and they raised their eyes 
to look at the Mosque. Then their chief began to hang his head, 
and his colour became yellow, and when his companions inquired 
of him the reason, he replied, ' Verily, I had told the assemblies 
of the people of Rumiyyah (Byzantium) that the Arabs and their 
power would remain but a brief space ; but now, when I see what 


they have built, I know that of a surety their (dominion) will 
reach to length of days.' When 'Omar heard report of this, he 
said, * I now perceive that this your Mosque is a source of rage 
to the infidels,' and he desisted from doing what he had intended 
therein. And 'Omar had before this studded the Mihrab with 
jewels of great price, and he afterwards hung up here lamps both 
of gold and of silver. 

" In the Jami' Mosque is the chapel (Zawiyah) of Al Khidr 
(Elias). There is also preserved here the head of Yahya ibn 
Zakariyya (John the Baptist), also the Kuran of 'Othman the 
Khalif. According to some, the Prophet HCid is buried here; 
but of this there is question. Under the great dome of the 
Kubbat an Nasr are two columns of variegated-coloured marble, 
which they say are of the Tabernacle of Bilkis (Queen of 
Sheba) ; but Allah alone knows best the truth. The western 
minaret of the Mosque is that where Al Ghazzali (the great theo- 
logian) used to pray. They say this minaret was of old a fire- 
temple, and that a flame of fire rose from it into the air. The 
ancient people of the Hauran made their worship here. The 
eastern minaret is called Al Manarah al Baida (the White Minaret), 
and upon it they say that Jesus, Son of Mary peace be upon 
Him ! will descend (at the Judgment Day).* There is shown 
here a stone which they say is a fragment of the rock which Moses 
struck, and from which there flowed forth twelve springs. They 
relate further, that the minaret on which Jesus peace be upon 
Him ! will descend is that which stands near the Kanisah 
Maryam (Mary Church) at Damascus. In the (court of the) 
Mosque, the western cupola, known as the Treasury, is, they say, 
the tomb of 'Ayishah (the wife of the Prophet) ; but her tomb is 
in reality at the Baki' Cemetery (at Al Madinah). At the south 
gate of the Jami', called the Bab az Ziyadah, is hung up a piece 
of a lance, said to have been that of Khalid ibn Al Walid. At 
Damascus, also, are the tombs of Mahmud ibn Zanki ; also of 
Saladin, namely, in the Kallasah Mosque near the Jami' (besides 
many others too numerous to mention)." (Yak., ii. 587-597.) 

The story of the complaint laid before the Khalif 'Omar ibn 

* The same tradition is given of the mir.aret at the eastern city-gate. See 
pp. 254, 259. 


'Abel al 'Aziz by the Christians of Damascus (see above, p. 260) 
is somewhat differently related in the Chronicle of Ibn al Athir. 
He writes : 

" When 'Omar ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz came to be Khalif, the Chris- 
tians complained to him of the wrong done to them ; but the 
Khalif retorted on them, ' Most certainly what lay outside the city 
was taken by assault, and yet we gave back to you one of your 
churches there. We will, therefore, now destroy the church of 
Tuma (St. Thomas), for was it not taken by assault ? and we will 
turn it into a mosque.' Then the Christians answered him, * Nay, 
rather in fear of this, we give up to thee the great Mosque, and do 
thou leave us in peaceful possession of the church of Tuma.' " 
(Ibn al Athir, v. 5.) 

Dimashki, writing about the year 1300, has the following : 

" Damascus is called also Jillik and Al Khadra (the green), and 
Dhat al 'Amud (the Columned). The mosque here is one of the 
wonders of the world. On the middle night of the month of 
Sha'aban they light in it twelve thousand lamps, and burn fifty 
Damascus Kintars-weight of olive-oil, and this not counting what 
is consumed in the other edifices, such as the colleges, mosques, 
tombs, convents, cloisters, and hospitals. The walls of the 
Mosque are faced with marble after the most exquisite manner 
ever seen, and above are mosaics in coloured glass and gold and 
silver. The length of the Mosque from east to west is 282 ells, 
and the width is 220 (or 210) ells. The roof is covered with 
sheets of lead. Damascus consists in reality of three towns. 
First there come the palaces, gardens, and orchards in the Ghutah, 
sufficient to form a large town by themselves ; then, second, are 
the underground water-courses ; and third, the houses of the city 
itself. The gardens of Damascus number one hundred and 
twenty-one thousand ; all are watered by a single river which 
comes down from the country near Az Zabadani, and the Wadi 
Barada. The springs coming down from the heights above the 
Wadi and the waters from the 'Ain al Fijah come together and 
form a single river called the Barada, which below divides into 
seven streams, each called by its own name. 

"The first is the Nahr Yazid, which was dug by the Khalif 


Yazid ibn Mu'awiyah, and called after him. The second is the 
Nahr Thaurah, which was dug by one of the kings of the Greeks 
of that name. The third is the Nahr Balniyas (or Banas), dug by 
Balniyas (Pliny) the Greek philosopher, and called after him. 
The fourth is the Nahr al Kanawat (of the Water-conduits). 
These last two flow to the outer districts of the city, and there 
divide up into small water-courses and underground channels 
serving the baths and places for ablution. The fifth is the Nahr 
Mizzah, being called after the village of Al Mizzah, which is also 
called Al Manazzah (meaning the Pure), on account of the salubrity 
of its climate, the purity of its water, the beauty of its palaces, 
the excellence of its fruits, and the abundance of its roses and 
other flowers. It is here they make the celebrated rose-water of 
Damascus; and this rose-water of Al Mizzah is exported to all 
the countries of the South, such as the Hijjaz, and beyond to 
India and China. As an example of the price this rose-water 
fetches in the market, it is reported that the chief Kadi of the 
Hanifites, with his brother Al Hariri, possessed a plot of land 
called Shaur az Zahr (the Flower-garland) measuring no paces by 
75, and they sold of its crop 20 Kintars-weight (of rose-leaves) for 
22,000 Dirhams (or about 6,500 Ibs. for ^"880) in the year 665 
(1267) ; but nothing equal to this has been heard of since. 

" The sixth river is the Nahr Darayya ; its upper course is an 
affluent (of the Baradaj, and below, it divides (from the Barada 
again). Darayya is a village with very rich crops and lands. 
There are here the tombs of Abu Muslim al Khaulani, and of 
Abu Sulaiman ad Darani. The seventh river is the Barada itself, 
the main stream of which runs down the bed of the Wadi. It 
receives affluents in its upper course, and below there branch from 
it all the six abovementioned rivers ; and these rivers again 
divide up into channels and water-courses that irrigate all the 
lands of the Ghutah, so that there is no part of its territory where 
the water does not attain. The irrigation continues night and 
day, and according to fixed measures and lines, and the volume 
of water neither increases nor decreases. The main stream of 
the Barada continues on eastward of the city, watering villages 
and domains and lands, both fertile and barren, till it ultimately 


falls into the lake to the east of Damascus in the district of 
'Adhra, in which are many reeds. Another river (of Damascus) 
is called Al A'waj, and it also falls into this same lake. It 
becomes a large river at the time of the melting of the snows, 
when many small streams join it." (Dim., 193-198.) 

Abu-1 Fida, writing a few years after Dimashki, gives the follow- 
ing description of the lake lying to the east of Damascus, into 
which the rivers drain : 

"Buhairah Dimashk (the lake of Damascus) lies to the west, 
or rather north-west, of the city in the Ghautah ; the overflow of 
the Barada, and of the other streams, falls into it. In the winter 
this lake spreads out, so that the people (on its banks) have no 
need to use the irrigation-canals ; in the summer the waters shrink 
up. It has lowlands full of reeds, which form a useful and cele- 
brated hiding-place from the enemy." (A. F. 40.) 

The same author continues : " Muhallabi says that he found on 
one of the pillars of the Mosque at Damascus an inscription, 
which set forth the following : Damaskiytis built this House to the 
God of Gods Ziyush. And he adds, Damaskiyus is the name of 
the king who built the city, and Ziyush (Zeus) is translated into 
Arabic by Al Mushtari (Jupiter)." (A. F., 230.) 

The traveller Ibn Batutah spent some months in Damascus 
during the year 1326. He gives in his Diary a long description 
of the city and its chief monuments, inserting copious quotations 
from Ibn Jubair and previous writers. The more important 
passages only are here translated, and these show us what the 
Mosque was in the fourteenth century, just before its destruction 
by fire at the time of Timur's conquest : 

"The Mosque of Damascus was first built by Al Walid ibn 
'Abd al Malik, and artificers were sent from the King of Ar Rum 
for the purpose. Originally it was a church, which the Muslims 
took from the Christians by force. The Mosque was ornamented 
with mosaics in gold, and in various colours, called Fusaifasah. 
The length of the Mosque from east to west is 200 paces, which 
is 300 ells ; its width from the Kiblah to the north side is 
135 paces, or 200 ells. Of windows of coloured glass there are 
to the number of seventy-four to be seen. The Main-building of 


the Mosque consists of three naves, going from east to west, and 
the width of each nave is 18 paces. The naves are supported by 
fifty-four pillars, and by eight piers of plaster-work set in between ; 
also by six piers of marble, which are of various colours, and have 
on them representations of prayer-niches of divers sorts. Above 
the building rises the Lead Dome (Kubbat ar Rasas], which 
stands before the Mihrab. It is also called Kubbat an Nasr, 
the Eagle's Dome ; for it is as though they likened the Mosque in 
plan to a flying eagle, the dome being its head. This is one of 
the most wonderful constructions in the world. On whatever side 
you approach the city you see the Dome of the Eagle, as it were, 
in the air, soaring above all the other buildings of the city. 

"Round the Court of the Mosque are three colonnades 
namely, to west, and to east, and to north. The width of each of 
these colonnades is 10 paces. There are in (each of) these 
(colonnades) thirty-three columns and fourteen piers. The width 
of the courtyard is 100 ells. It is one of the pleasantest places 
to see, and the people of the city meet here to talk and walk of 
an evening. In the court are three cupolas. The cupola to the 
west is the largest ; it is called Kubbat 'Ayishah (the Dome of 
'Ayishah), the Mother of the Faithful. It is supported by eight 
marble columns, which are ornamented with mosaic work in 
various colours. The dome itself is covered with lead. They say 
the revenues of the Mosque -used to be kept there. They told 
me, further, that the revenues of the corn-lands, and that derived 
from other possessions of the Mosque, amounted yearly to 20,000 
gold Dinars (,10,000). The second cupola lies in the eastern 
part of the Mosque court. It is similar to the first, but smaller. 
It is supported by eight marble columns, and is called the Kubbat 
of Zain al 'Abidin. The third cupola is in the centre of the court- 
yard. It is small and octagonal, of marble and very wonderfully 
built. It is supported on four pillars of white marble. Below it 
is a grating of iron, in the middle of which is a spout of brass 
from which comes "water, throwing itself out like a silver rod. 
They call this the Water Cage (Kafs al Ma], and the people are 
fond of putting their mouths thereto to drink of its water. To 
the east of the courtyard is a gate which leads into a beautiful 


mosque called Mash-had 'AH ibn Abu Talib may Allah accept 
him ! Opposite this, on the west side (of the courtyard) where 
the two colonnades, the northern and the western, meet together, 
is a place where they say 'Ayishah was wont to recite the traditions 
of the Prophet. 

"In the southern part of the Mosque is the Great Maksurah 
in which the Imam (or Leader of Prayer) of the Shafi'ites officiates. 
In its eastern angle, and opposite the Mihrab, is the Treasury, 
where is kept the copy of the Kuran which was sent to Damascus, 
having belonged to the Khalif 'Othman. This building is opened 
every Friday after the hour of prayer, and the people crowd here 
to see it. To the left of the Maksurah is the Mihrab of the 
Companions (of the Prophet), which the historians say was the 
first Mihrab erected in Islam. Here the Imam of the Malikites 
officiates. To the right of the Maksurah is the Mihrab of the 
Hanifites where their Imam officiates. Adjacent to this, again, is 
the Mihrab of the Hanbalites where their Imam officiates. The 
Mosque has three minarets. The one to the east was built 
originally by the Greeks. The entrance to it is from inside the 
Mosque. In its basement are the cells for ablution where those 
attached to the Mosque are wont to go. The second minaret, 
which is that on the west, is also of the building of the Greeks. 
The third minaret is on the north side, and this minaret was built 
by the Muslims. There are attached to the Mosque seventy Criers 
to Prayer (Muadhdhin). In the eastern part of the Mosque is a large 
Maksurah (or place railed off), wherein is a cistern of water. It 
belongs to the people of Zaila' (on the Red Sea), who are negroes. 

" In the middle of the Mosque is the tomb of Zakariyya 
(Zacharias, father of John the Baptist) peace be upon him ! There 
is here a cenotaph placed crosswise between two columns, which 
is covered with a black silk cloth, on which is embroidered in 
white letters the words : O Zakariyya, verily we announce to thee 
(the birth of) a son his name shall be John (Yahya). (Kuran, 
xix. 7.) They say the southern (outer) wall of the Mosque was 
buUt by the Prophet Hud peace be upon him ! and that his 
tomb is there. I saw it, however, again at a place in Yaman in 


" The Mosque has four gates. The southern gate is called Bab 
az Ziyadah. Above it is kept a piece of the lance which bore 
Khalid ibn al Walid's standard. This gate has a great hall before 
it, in which are the shops of the old-ironware merchants and 
others. From thence you go to the Cavalry House (Ddr al 
Khail\ To the left, as you go out (of the Bab az Ziyadah), are 
the shops of the coppersmiths. This is their gieat bazaar, and it 
extends all along the southern outer wall of the Mosque, and is 
one of the finest bazaars in Damascus. Where this bazaar now 
stands was formerly the Palace of the Khalif Mu'awiyah, and the 
houses of his people. This palace was called Al Khadra. The 
Abbasides pulled it down, and turned the place where it stood 
into a bazaar. The east gate of the Mosque is the greatest of all 
the gates. It is called Bab JairCm. It has a great hall before it, 
from which you go out into a long and splendid colonnade, in the 
front part of which are five gates, each of which has five high 
columns. On the left of this (colonnade) is a great Mash-had 
(oratory), in which was kept the head of Al Husain ; and opposite 
thereto is a small mosque, called by the name of the Khalif 'Omar 
ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz. Here there is running water. In front of the 
colonnade are steps by which you descend to the hall. This last 
is like a great fosse, adjacent to which is a very high gateway, 
which is supported by columns (as large as) huge palm-trunks. 
On either side of this hall, too, are columns. Above and on the 
top of these is a gallery going all round about, in which are the 
stalls of the cloth-merchants and others. Above these, again, are 
galleries in which are the shops of the jewellers and book-sellers, 
and the makers of the wonderful glass vessels. In the open square 
adjacent to the first gate are the stalls of the chief notaries. Of 
these stalls two belong to the Shafi'ites, and the rest to the notaries 
of the other three orthodox sects. Every stall holds five or six 
notaries, and those who are deputed by the Kadi (judge) to 
solemnize marriages. The rest of the notaries live elsewhere in 
the town. Near these stalls is the Bazaar of the Paper-makers, 
where they sell writing-paper and pens, reeds and ink. In the 
middle of the hall aforementioned is a large round marble tank, 
over which is a dome (pierced in the centre, and) open to the 


sky, which is supported on marble columns. In the centre of 
the tank is a brass spout, from which is thrown up a column of 
water into the air for higher than a man's height. This is called 
the Fountain (Al Fawwarah\ and is very wonderful to see. 

" To the right hand going out of the Bab Jairitn, which is also 
called the Bab as Sa'at, is a gallery, in which is a great arch. 
Under this is a row of smaller arches, in which open doors equal 
in number to the hours of the day. The doors are coloured on 
the inside green, and on the outside yellow. When one hour of 
the day has elapsed, the inner side, which is green, turns round 
and shows outside ; while the green (that was before) outside is 
(now) within. They say that on the inside of the gallery there is 
someone who attends to turning these doors round with his hand 
when each hour has elapsed. 

" The western gate (of the Mosque) is called the Bab al Barid. 
To the right hand as you go out by it is the Madrasah of the 
Shafi'ites. This gate has a hall, in which are the shops of the 
chandlers and the booths of the fruit-sellers. Above it is a door 
to which you ascend by steps, and this door has high columns 
(before it). Below the steps, to right and to left, are two basins 
of water that are circular in shape. The northern gate of the 
Mosque is called Bab an Natifaniyyin (the Gate of the Sweetmeat 
sellers). On the right hand as you go out by it is the Cloister 
(Khanikah) called Ash Shami'aniyyah, in the centre of which is a 
water-cistern, and a place for the ablution served by running 
water. They say this was of old the Palace of the Khalif 'Omar 
ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz. At every one of the abovementioned four gates 
of the Mosque are places for the ablution, in which altogether are 
some hundred cells, with running water in plenty in each. 

" Of other places worthy of note are the Dar al Khitabah (the 
House of the Friday Sermon), which you enter by the Iron Gate 
opposite the Maksurah. This was the gate through which 
Mu'awiyah used to pass (to his Palace of the Khadra). The 
chief Kadi lives here now. Among the sanctuaries we must 
mention the Mash hads (or oratories) of 'Ali and Al Husain, the 
Mosque Al Kallasah, and the Mash-hads of Abu Bakr, 'Omar, 
and 'Othman. The city gates of Damascus are eight in number. 


Among these are B? b al Faradis, Bab al Jabiyah, Bab as Saghir ; 
and between the two last lies the spot where are seen many tombs 
of the Companions and others, also the tomb of the Khalif 
Mu'awiyah, and of Bilal (the Prophet's Crier to Prayer), and of 
Ka'ab al Ahbar. At the opposite side to the Bab Jabiyah is the 
Bab Sharki, the eastern gate, with the cemetery lying beyond." 

Among other places mentioned by Ibn Batutah are As Salihiyyah, 
the northern suburb, under Jabal Kasiyim. Also the Tomb of 
Dhu-1 Kifl, the prophet, and the Cave of the Blood of Abel ; also 
Ar Rabwah (the Hill) behind Jabal Kasiyun, which was the habi- 
tation of Mary and of Jesus. " There is a beautiful view from 
here," he says, " as also from the Oratory of Al Khidr. The 
village of An Nairab lies at the foot of The Hill, Ar Ribwah. Al 
Mizzah, called also Mizzah of Kalb, after the tribe of Kalb ibn 
Wabrah, lies to the south of Nairab." (I. B., i. 198-236.) 

The Great Mosque at Damascus (as Yakut mentions, see above, 
p. 263) must have been seriously damaged by the fire which took 
place there in the year 1069, during a riot between the Fatimites 
and the Shi'ahs. It was, however, shortly afterwards restored, and 
such as the building then was, we have it described in the diaries 
of the two travellers, Ibn Jubair (1185), and Ibn Batutah (1355). 
In the year 1400 the great conqueror Timur-Leng took possession 
of Damascus, and during the Mongol occupation of the city the 
Great Mosque was set on fire and burnt almost to the ground. 
The historian Abu-1 Mahasin says the fire was actually lighted by 
Timur's orders ; Ibn Khaldun, on the other hand, asserts that the 
mishap occurred during the taking of the city by assault ; while 
the author of the Zafar Namah assures us that the fire was 
accidental, and that Timur made every possible effort, but in vain, 
to have it extinguished. In Timur's camp at this time was the 
celebrated Bavarian traveller Schiltberger. The account of his 
voyages has been published by the Hakluyt Society, and from his 
pages the following quotation, giving some account of the fire, is 
of importance, as being the testimony of an eye witness, though 
one much prejudiced against Timur : 

" Then Tamerlin stormed the City (of Damascus), and took it 
by assault. And now soon after he had taken the City, came to 


him the Geit, that is as much as to say a Bishop, and fell at his 
feet, and begged mercy for himself and his priests. Tamerlin 
ordered that he should go with his priests into the Temple (mean- 
ing the Great Mosque) ; so the priests took their, wives, their 
children, and many others, into the Temple for protection, until 
there were thirty thousand young and old. Now Tamerlin gave 
orders that when the Temple was full, the people inside should be 
shut up in it. This was done. Then wood was placed around 
the Temple, and he ordered it to be ignited, and they all perished 
in the Temple." (From The Bondage and Travels of Johann 
Schiltberger, 1396 to 1427, p. 23; Hakluyt Society's publica- 




Ar Rakini and the Cave of the Sleepers Zttghar (Zoar, Segor), the Cities of 
Lot, and the Legend of Lot's daughters Al Kalt anH the Well of the 
Leaf Uritn and the Ancient Temple 'Ain al Jdrah and the Menhir 
BcC albakk a\\& the Great Stones Bait Lahm (Bethlehem) and the Basilica 
of Constantine An Nasirah (Nazareth) and the Wonderful Tree. 


THE story of "The Companions of the Cave" is one that from 
earliest times has proved a favourite with the Muslims. This 
probably was in the beginning due to the fact that the Prophet had 
used the incidents connected with the legend of the Seven Sleepers 
of Ephesus to illustrate one of the didactic chapters of the Kuran. 
The Christian legend will be found related at length in the Acta 
Sanctorum of the Bollandists, under date of July 27 (Tomus vi., 
P- 375 5 de S. S. Septem Dormientibus}. 

Briefly, the account there given is, that in the year 250 A.D., 
during the reign of the Emperor Decius, there lived at Ephesus 
seven young men, brothers, and ardent Evangelists, whose names, as 
recorded in the Roman martyrology, were Maximilianus, Marcus, 
Martinianus, Dionysius, John, Serapion, and Constantinus. In 
order to escape the persecution then directed against the Chris- 
tians, these youths hid themselves in a cave in Mount Cselian. On 
being discovered by their persecutors they were walled up in the 
cave, and there took sleep in the Lord. In the year 470, in the 
days of the Emperor Theodosius, their bodies were discovered, and 
ultimately were brought to the Church of St. Victor, at Marseilles, 
where they now lie. 

The legend was apparently of Syrian origin. It has given its. 


name to the eighteenth chapter of the Kuran, of which the 
following verses are the most important : 

" Verse 8. Hast thou reflected that the inmates of the Cave and 
of Ar Rakim were one of our wondrous signs ? 

" Verse 9. When the youths betook them to the cave they said, 
' O, our Lord ! grant us mercy from before Thee, and order for us 
our affair aright.' 

" Verse 10. Then struck we upon their ears (with deafness) in 
the cave for many a year. . . . 

" Verse 16. And thou mightest have seen the sun when it arose, 
pass on the right of their cave, and when it set, leave them on the 
left, while they were in its spacious chamber. 

" Verse 17. And thou wouldst have deemed them awake, though 
they were sleeping ; and we turned them to the right and to the left. 
And in the entry lay their dog with paws outstretched. Hadst 
thou come suddenly upon them, thou wouldst surely have turned 
thy back on them in flight, and have been filled with fear at them. 

" Verse 18. So we awaked them that they might question one 
another. Said one of them, ' How long have ye tarried here ?' 
. . . They said, * Your Lord knoweth best how long ye have tarried ; 
send now one of you with this your coin into the city, and let him 
mark who therein hath purest food, and from him let him bring you 
a supply; and let him be courteous, and not discover you to anyone. 

" Verse 19. 'For they, if they find you out, will stone you or 
turn you back to their faith, and in that case it will fare ill with 
you for ever.' 

" Verse 20. And thus we made their adventure known to (their 
fellow-citizens), that they might learn that the promise of God is 
true. . . . 

" Verse 21. Some say, they were three; their dog the fourth ; 
others say, five ; their dog the sixth ; guessing at the secret ; others 
say, seven ; their dog the eighth. . . . 

" Verse 24. And they tarried in their Cave three hundred years, 
and nine years over."* 

* Quoted from the Rev. J. M. Rodwell's translation of the Kuran. Accord- 
ing to the Christian tradition, the youths entered the cave under the Emperor 
Decius and awoke in the days of Theodosius. This gives some 220 years, 
which does not agree with the 309 years of the Kuran. 

1 8 2 


Scattered up and down the volumes of Yakut's great Geo- 
graphical Dictionary, under various headings, are many curious 
details relating to the legend of the Seven Sleepers, and these 
may with advantage be brought together for purposes of com- 
parison with accounts, derived from other early Muslim writers, of 
reported visits to the Cave. 

Starting with the verses of the Kuran, before quoted, where the 
Cave and Ar Rakim are mentioned, the Muslims were much 
exercised in their minds as to what signification should be attached 
to the word Ar Rakim. According to one account (Yakut, ii. 805), 
Ar Rakim was said to be " a tablet of lead on which were in- 
scribed the names of the Men of the Cave, and their history, and 
the date of their flight." The authority of the great traditionist, 
Ibn 'Abbas, is, on the same page, given in support of the view 
that Ar Rakim was the name of the Cave, which, it is further 
stated, "lay between 'Amuriyyah (Amorium) and Nikiyah (Nicaea), 
being ten or eleven days' journey from Tarsus." " Other authori- 
ties, however," says Yakut, " hold Ar Rakim to be either the name 
of the Village where the youths lived, or of the mountain in 
which the Cave was to be found." " Or," says Yakut, in another 
article, "Jairam is said to be the name of the Cave of the 
Sleepers." (Yak., ii. 175.) 

The same Ibn 'Abbas (Yak., ii. 805) further states that the 
names of the Seven Sleepers were these : " Yamlikha (Jamblichus), 
Maksimilina (Maximilianus), Mashilina (Marcellus ?), Martunus 
(Martianus), Dabriyus (Dionysius? or Demetrius?), Sirabiyun 
(Serapion), and Afastatiyus (Exustadianus ?). The name of their 
dog being Kitmir, and of the king from whom they fled Dakiyanus 
(Decianus, a mistake for Decius)." The name of their city is given 
very correctly (Yak., ii. 806) as Afasus (Ephesus) ; Ar Rakim being 
here mentioned as the name of the Cave, and Ar Rass the name 
of the Village where the youths dwelt. In a previous article, how- 
ever (Yak., i. 91), we find another spelling: " Abasus, a ruined 
city of the country of the Greeks, from which the Companions of 
the Cave came. It is said to be the City of Dakiyanus, and it 
lies near Abulustain. There are many wonderful remains here." 
Two pages further on (Yak., i. 93) Abulustain is given as " a 


celebrated city in the Creek country, near to whicli is Ar 
Rakim.' 1 

Abulustain, near Kphesus, is the place at the present da}' 
called Al Bustan. Yakut apparently has taken this notice ot 
Abulustain from 'Ali of Herat, for a similar account is to be found 
in his work. (A. II., ( )\f. MS., folio 8f> v.) In the last volume 
of Yakut (iv. 1040), " Yanjalus " (evidently a Creek name; is 
stated to be the name of the mountain in which lay the (lave ot 
the Sleepers, but some doubt is expressed as to where the moun- 
tain was situated. 

Besides the neighbourhood of Kphesus, Yakut localises the 
legend in two other places, namely, in the trans- [ordanie Province 
of the Balka, and in Spain. In the latter country, Yakut writes 
(vol. ii. 125 and 806), "some say the Cave and Ar Rakim are to 
be found at Jinan al Ward (the (Jardens of the Rose), in Anda- 
lusia, adding that Tulaitalah (Toledo) is the City of Dakiyantis - 
but (iod knows best.' Of Ar Rakim, in the Balk.;, a curious 
story relating to a cave to be seen there in the tenth century is 
given by Mukaddasi. The earliest notice of Ar Rakim, however, 
is found in the work of Istakhri, who wrote a generation before 
Mukaddasi : his account is as follows : 

" Rakim or Ar Rakim is a town on the confines of the Balka 
Province. It is small, and its houses are entirely cut out in the 
rock. Their walls, even, are all of the live rock, so that each 
appears to be of but a single block of stone." (Is., 64, copied by 

A. K, 227.) 

* Ar Rakim has often been identified with 1'etra or "Wa li Musa, near Mount 
llor, on the hypothesis that the name represents the ' Arekem ' of fosephus 
('Anti(|.,' iv. 4, 7 ; and iv. 7,55 i ). This identification, however, which 
originated with A. Schultens in the last century (see his ' Vita Saladim,' Index 
Geographicus, s.v. Ermkiniuni}, an 1 has been constantly copied by writers 
up to the present day, was very justly shown to be impossible by Robinson, in 
his Biblical A'es,-a;r/t<;< (ii. 655). Mukaddasi's account confirms this by placing 
Ar Rakim three miles from 'Amman. Further, Ibn al Athir ('Chronicle,' 
xi. 259) states that Ar Rakim lies two days' march north of Kaiak, on the 
road between Damascus and that fortress. Neither of these indications will 
allow of Ar Rakim being identified with Pelra (\Va It Musa) lying two days' 
march south of the Dead Sea. Tne confusion no uoubt arose from the fact 
that there were in Hebrew times two Rakims, as is proved by the notices given 


The following is the account of the cave given by Mukaddasi : 
"In the village of Ar Rakim, which lies about a league distant 
from 'Amman, and on the border of the desert, is a cavern with 
two entrances one large, one small and they say that he who 
enters by the larger is unable to leave by the smaller, unless he 
have with him a guide. In the cave are three tombs, concerning 
which Abu-1 Fadl Muhammad ibn Mansur related to me the fol- 
lowing tradition of the Prophet, and his authority was Abu Bakr 
ibn Sa'id, who said that 'Abd Allah, the son of the Khalif 'Omar, 
was wont to relate the story, he himself having heard it from the 
mouth of the Prophet the grace of Allah be upon him, and His 
peace ! Thus he spoke : ' While three men once were walking 
together, heavy rain overtook them, and drove them into a cavern 
of the mountain, and of a sudden there fell, from the mountain 
above, a rock which blocked up the mouth of the cave, and 
behold they were shut in. Then one of them called to the other, 
saying, " Now, mind ye of such good deeds as ye have done, and 
call on Allah thereby, beseeching Him, so that for the sake thereof 
perchance He may cleave this rock before us." Then one of 
them cried aloud, saying, " Allah ! of a truth have not I my two 
parents who are old and feeble, besides my children, of whom I 
am the sole protector ? And when I return to them, I do milk 
the kine, and give first of the milk to my two parents, even before 
giving of it to my children. Now, on a certain day, when I was 
at forced labour, I came not to them until it was night, and found 
my parents slumbering. Then I milked the kine, as was my 
wont, and I brought of the milk and came and stood near by 
unto them, but feared awaking them from their sleep ; and 
further, I dared not give of it to the children before the setting of 
it before my elders, although the children, in truth, were in distress 
for want thereof. And thus I remained waiting till the breaking 
of the dawn. Now, since Thou knowest well how I did this 
thing from fear of Thy face, so therefore cause this rock to cleave 
before us, that through the same we may perceive the sky." 
Then Allah caused a cleft to split in the rock, and through it they 

in the Talmud (cf. Neubauer's Geographic du Talmud}, namely, ' Rekem of 
Ga'aya' and ' Rekem of Hagra,' the latter being Petra. 


perceived the sky. Then the second one cried aloud, and said, 
" Allah ! was there not the daughter of my uncle, whom I loved 
passionately, as only man can love? And when I sought to 
possess her, she would refuse herself to me, saying that I should 
bring her a hundred pieces of gold. Then I made effort, and col- 
lected those hundred pieces, bringing them to her ; but even as I 
was entering to possess her, she cried aloud and said, ' O servant 
of Allah, fear Him, and force me not, except in lawfulness.' So I 
went from her. And now, verily, as Thou knowest that 1 did even 
this from the fear of Thy face, so therefore cleave unto us again 
a portion of this rock." And Allah vouchsafed to cleave thereof 
another cleft. Then the last man cried aloud, and said, " Allah ! 
did I not hire a serving-man for the customary portion of rice ? 
And when his task was accomplished, he said to me, 'Now give 
to me my due.' And I gave to him his due; but he would not 
receive it, and despised it. Then I ceased not to use the same for 
sowing till, of profit, I became possessed of cattle and of a neat- 
herd slave. And after long time, the man came to me and said, 
* Fear Allah, and oppress me not ; but give to me my due.' And 
I, answering him, said, ' Go thou, then, to these cattle and their 
herdsmen, and receive them.' Said he again, * Fear Allah, and 
mock me not !' And I answered him, * Verily, I mock thee not. 
Do thou take these cattle and their herdsmen.' So he at last, 
taking them, did go his way. And now, since Thou knowest how 
I did this thing in fear of Thy face, do Thou cause what of this 
rock remaineth to be cleft before us." Then Allah caused the 
whole rock to become cleft before them.' ". (Muk., 175.) 

The tradition here given is evidently a somewhat disguised 
version of the story of the Cave of the Sleepers mentioned in 
the Kuran. Mas'udi, writing in 943, remarks on the history of 
the Companions of the Cave and Ar Rakim : " There is consider- 
able difference of opinion among people as to the Companions of 
the Cave and of Ar Rakim. Some there are who hold the Com- 
panions of the Cave to be the same as the Companions of Ar 
Rakim, and say that Ar Rakim is but the name of the Com- 
panions of the Cave that were written (Rakama) on a tablet of 
stone over the door of the cavern. Others say the Companions 


of the Cave are quite distinct from the Companions of Ar Rakim." 
(Mas., iii. 307.) 

Of visits to the reputed Cave of the Sleepers in the Greek 
territories there are several accounts quoted by Yakut, and other 
writers. The earliest is said to have taken place about the year 
ii A.M. (632); next in chronological order is the account found 
in Mukaddasi of a visit in the year 102 (720) ; a third visit, men- 
tioned in Yakut, is set down to have taken place in the reign of 
the Khalif al VVathik, about the year 845 A.D. 

The first account is as follows : 

" 'Ubadah ibn as Samit relates as follows : * Abu Bakr as Siddik 
despatched me the year he became Khalif (A.H. 11, A.D. 632) to 
the King of Rum (Greece) to exhort him to receive Islam, or else 
to declare him war.' 

" 'Ubadah continues : ' We journeyed until we entered the 
country of the Greeks, and when we were approaching Constanti- 
nople, there appeared before us a red mountain in which they 
said were the Companions of the Cave, and Ar Rakim ; so we 
turned aside to a monastery, and inquired of the people thereof 
concerning them, and they pointed out a passage in the mountain. 
Then we told them that we wished to see the (Companions of the 
Cave). They said, " Give us somewhat," and we gave them 
Dinars. Then they entered the passage, and we entered after 
them, and there was herein a door of iron which they opened, 
and they brought us to a mighty chamber (bait) hollowed in the 
mountain, in which were thirteen men lying on their backs, as 
though they were asleep. They all were covered from head to 
foot with dust-gray cloaks and shirts. We could not discover 
whether their clothes were of wool or of hair, or of what other 
material ; but the texture was harder than brocade, and crackled 
from the thickness and the excellence of the stuff. We saw that 
most of them had on boots (k/iufaf) reaching up to the middle of 
the leg, but some were shod with sandals (m'dt) sewn together. 
Both the boots and the sandals were of excellent sewing, and the 
leather was such as the like I have not seen elsewhere. We un- 
covered their faces, one after the other, and lo ! in all was the 
complexion of healthful bloom, and of red blood (in the cheeks), 


as is the appearance of a living man. Of some (the hair) was 
turning gray, and some were in their youth with black hair; some 
had flowing locks, and some were shaven. Their stature was that 
of ordinary Muslims. When we came to the last of them, we 
beheld that his head had been cut off with a sword-stroke, and it 
was as though it had been struck off that very day. We inquired 
of those who had conducted us hither what they did with these 
men. They replied, it was their wont to come in here on the 
festival-day of (the Companions of the Cave), when the people of 
the country would assemble at the gate of the cave, coming in 
from all the towns and villages around ; and that then, during 
some days, they would stand the dead men upright in order to 
clean them, and shake the dust from their cloaks and shirts ; also, 
they pared their nails, and cut their moustaches, and after this 
they laid them down once more in the position in which we now 
saw them.' 

" ' Then we inquired of our guides as to who these men had 
been, and what had been their office, and how long they had lain 
in this place. The guides answered us they had found in their 
Books that these men had lain in this place since four hundred 
years before the coming of the Messiah peace be upon Him ! 
and that they had been prophets, sent at a certain time, and that 
they knew naught more of their condition but this.' 

" Says the writer, 'Abd Allah (Yakut), the poor servant (of 
God) : ' All this have I copied from the work of a man of trust, 
but Allah alone knows if it be true.' '' (Yak., ii. 806.) 

A somewhat similar account to the above is also given by 
Mukaddasi, but with the difference that the visit he narrates took 
place some ninety years later than the date quoted for Yakut's 
narrative, and naturally the " narrator " is not the same. Mukad- 
dasi, after stating that Tarsus was in his day (985) in the power of 
the Greeks, continues : 

" As regards the Cave (of the Seven Sleepers), the city to which 
it belongs is Tarsus ; and further, here is the tomb of Dakiyanus, 
and in the neighbourhood is a hill, on which is a mosque, said to 
have been built above the cave. The jurisprudist Abu 'Abd-Allah 
Muhammad 'Omar al Bukhari related to us, quoting the words of 


Abu Talib al Vamani, who held it by a chain of authorities, that 
Mujahid ibn Yazid had reported, saying, * I went forth with 
Khalid al Baridi in the days when he went on an embassy to the 
Emperor (at Constantinople), during the year of the Flight 102 
(720), and beside us two there went no other Muslims. After we 
had visited Constantinople, we set out to return by 'Amuriyyah 
(Amorium), and thence, in the course of four nights, we reached 
Al Ladhikiyyah (Loadicea Combusta), which had been destroyed 
by fire. From thence we came on to Al Hawiyyah, which lies in 
the midst of the mountains, and it was here told us that in this 
place were some dead men, who they were none knew, but there 
were guards set to guard them. And the people caused us to 
enter a tunnel, some 50 ells deep and 2 broad, having lamps with 
us, and behold, in the middle of this tunnel was an iron door, it 
being a hiding-place for their families at times when the Arabs 
make their incursions against them. At this spot were ruined 
buildings of great extent, in the midst of which was a hole in the 
ground, some 15 ells across, filled with water, and from here one 
could perceive the sky. The cavern from this place entered the 
bowels of the mountain, and we were conducted to a spot right 
under Al Hawiyyah, where was a chamber some 20 ells deep. In 
this were thirteen men, lying prostrate one behind the other, each 
wearing a cloak. 1 was unable to see whether this was of wool 
or of hair, but the cloaks were gray in colour dust-coloured vest- 
ments which crackled under the touch like parchment. In 
every case the garments, which were fringed, veiled the face of 
the wearer, and covered his limbs. And some wore boots up to 
the middle of the leg, and some sandals, while others had shoes ; 
but everything was perfectly new. On uncovering the face of one 
of them, I perceived that the hair of his head and of his beard 
had remained unchanged, and that the skin of his face was 
shining, the blood appearing in his cheeks. It was as though 
these men had laid themselves down but a moment before, for 
their limbs were supple as are the limbs of living men, and all 
were still in their youth, except certain of them whose locks had 
begun to turn gray. And behold, one of them had had his head 
cut off, and inquiring of the people of the matter, they answered, 


saying, " When the Arabs came down on us, and took possession 
of Al Hawiyyah, we gave them information concerning these (dead 
men), but they would not believe us, and one of the Arabs struck 
the head off this body." 

" ' The men of Al Hawiyyah further related to us that at the 
commencement of each year on their feast-day the people 
"assemble in this cavern, and, raising each of these corpses one 
by one, they cause them to stand upright. Then they wash them, 
and shake the dust off their clothes, and arrange their garments. 
Moreover, these dead men are not allowed afterwards to fall or 
sink down, but are laid out by the people, after the manner we 
saw, on the ground ; and they pare their nails three times in the 
year, for these do continue to grow. Then we inquired the 
explanation of these things, and concerning their origin ; but the 
people replied that they knew nothing about the matter, only 
adding, "We call them prophets."' 

" The before-mentioned Mujahid and Khalid further state that 
they themselves concluded that these men must be the Com- 
panions of the Cave (mentioned in the Kuran) ; but Allah alone 
knows." (Muk., 153.) 

The third account is quoted by Yakut. This visit is stated to 
have taken place rather more than a century after the one 
described in the pages of Mukaddasi : 

"It was the Khalif Al Wathik (A.H. 227-232; A.D. 842-847) 
who sent Muhammad ibn Musa al Munajjim (the Astrologer) to 
the countries of the Greeks to discover the Companions of the 
Cave and Ar Rakim. This Muhammad, the astrologer, reports 
of his journey as follows : 

" ' And we reached the country of the Greeks, and, lo ! before 
us was a small mountain, the base of which was not more than 
1,000 ells (round). In its side is a passage ; and you enter by 
this passage, and pass through a tunnel in the ground for the 
distance of 300 paces, when you arrive at a portico (riwak). This 
is in the mountain ; it is supported by columns cut out of the 
rock. In the rock are numerous chambers (bait\ and among 
them one with a tall doorway, of man's height, closed by a stone 
gate. It is here the dead men lie. There was one in attendance 


who guarded them, and with him were eunuchs. The guardian 
would have turned us aside from seeking to see the dead men ; 
for he said that of a surety he who went down to seek them 
would receive some bodily injury. But by this dissimulation he 
sought rather to keep the advantage of the visitation to himself 
(and his people). 

" ' Then said I to him, " Give me but a sight of them, and 
thou shalt be free (of all blame in the matter)." And so ascending 
with great pain a rough way, and accompanied by one of my 
young men, I beheld these (dead men). And, lo ! (their bodies; 
had been rubbed with unguents, the hair being soft in the hand, 
and their limbs anointed with aloes, and myrrh, and camphor to 
preserve them. Their skin clave to the bones for I passed my 
hand over the breast of one of them and 1 found the hair 
thereof rough. The garments were strong (of texture). 

" ' After that (we had returned) the guardian presented us with 
food, and besought us to eat ; but when we took thereof and 
tasted it our stomachs revolted from it, and vomited it up again. 
It was as though a villainy had been attempted, and that (the 
guardian) had sought to kill us or certain of us, at least in 
order to justify the words of dissimulation used in the presence of 
the king when saying that the Companions of Ar Rakim would 
surely work us evil. Then said we to the (guardian), " We 
had imagined they would have been living men, with the 
semblance of those who are dead ; but behold these (men) are 
not of this sort !" And we left him, and went our ways.' " 
(Yak., ii. 805.) 

Referring to the various accounts of the Cave of the Seven 
Sleepers, Al Biruni, who wrote in 390 (A.D. 1000), has some 
pertinent remarks, which I quote from Professor Sachau's excellent 
translation of the text,* where, in the chapter on the festivals of 
the Syrian calendar, and under date of the 5th of Tishrin I. 
(October), we find the following : 

" Commemoration of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, who are 
mentioned in the Kuran. The Khalif Al Mu'tasim had sent 

* Translation of the Ath&r al Bakiyah, p. 285. Oriental Translation Fund, 


along with his ambassador another person, who saw the place of 
the Seven Sleepers with his own eyes, and touched them with his 
own hands. This report is known to everybody. We must, 
however, observe that he who touched them />., Muhammad 
ibn Musa ibn Shakir himself makes the reader rather doubt 
whether they are really the corpses of those seven youths or other 
people in fact, some sort of deception. 'Ali ibn Yahya, the 
astronomer, relates that, on returning from his expedition, he 
entered that identical place a small mountain, the diameter of 
which at the bottom is a little less than 1,000 yards. At the 
outside you see a subterranean channel, which goes into the 
interior of the mountain, and passes through a deep cave in the 
earth for a distance of 300 paces. Then the channel runs out 
into a sort of half-open hall in the mountain, the roof being 
supported by perforated columns ; and in this hall there is a 
number of separate compartments. There, he says, he saw 
thirteen people, among them a beardless youth, dressed in woollen 
coats and other woollen garments, in boots and shoes. He 
touched some hairs on the forehead of one of them, and tried to 
flatten them, but they did not yield. That their number is more 
than seven which is the Muhammadan and more than eight 
which is the Christian tradition is, perhaps, to be explained in 
this way, that some monks have been added who died there in 
the same spot. . . ." 

A few words may be added in conclusion regarding the names 
of the Seven Sleepers as given in the authorities quoted in the 
Acta Sanctoium of the Bollandists (Tomus vi. Julii, p. 375 et 
seq.\ and in the Bibliotheca Orientalia of Assemani (vol. i., p. 335 
et seq.\ 

The legend of the Seven Sleepers is first referred to in Western 
literature by Gregory of Tours (De Gloria Martyrum, vol. i., 9, 
caput 95), according to whom they were seven in number, their 
names being Clemens, Primus, Lcetus, Theodorus, Gaudens, 
Quiriacus (or Cyriacus\ and Innocentius. In the official list of 
the Roman Acta Sanctorum the names appear in Latin as 
MaximianuS) Constantinus, Malchus, Serapion, Martinianus, 
Dionysius, Johannes. In Greek the first two figure as Maximilianus 


and Constantinianus respectively; while Exacustodianus replaces 
Malchus, and Jamblichus Serapion, of the Roman list. 

In Assemani (Bibl. Or., i. 336) we find a list taken from the 
writings of Dionysius, the Jacobite patriarch, who gives the number 
as eight, their names being Maximilianus, Jamblichus, Serapion, 
Martinianus, Johannes, Exustadianus, Dionysius, and Antoninus. 

The following are the names, seven in number, from two other 
Marty rologies, as given in the Ada San:torum (loc. at., p. 376) : 

Russian : Maximilianus, Dionysius, Amulichus, Martinus, 
Antoninus, Johannes, Marcellus. 

Ethiopian (as given by Jobus Ludolfus, Calendarium sEthiopi- 
cum, p. 436) : Arshaledes, Diomedes, Eugenius, Dimatheus, 
Bronatheus, Stephus, Cyriacus. 

The list given by the Arab traditionist, Ibn 'Abbas (cited 
above, p. 276), is, doubtless, somewhat corrupt. In Eutychius 
(edited by Pocock, vol. i., p. 390 of the text) the names appear 
as Maksimyaniis, Amlikhus, Diydnfis, Martinus, Diyuriisiyus, 
Antuniyus, Yuhanna. 

The variety in the names would appear to have struck the 
Martyrologists as requiring some explanation. In the Ada 
Sanctorum (loc. cit., p. 376) the opinion of the anonymous Greek 
author of a MS. in the Medicean Library is quoted, as also that 
of Boninus Membritius. These are both of the opinion that the 
variants were due to the fact that the individuals are cited, in one 
account, under their original Pagan names, and, in another, under 
the names they subsequently received in baptism. 


The town of Zughar, so frequently mentioned by early Arab 
historians, is the Segor of the Crusading Chronicles, situated at 
the southern end of the Dead Sea. Whether or not this occupies 
the site of the Biblical Zoar of Lot is a point on which certainty 
is hardly to be obtained after the lapse of so many centuries, and 
when taking into account the extreme paucity and obscurity of 
the topographical indications afforded by the Book of Genesis. 
It has, however, been stated f that the Arab geographers place 

* Also spelt Sughar, and Suknr. 

f Notably by Dr. Selah Merrill, East of the Jordan, p. 233 et se.q. 


Zughar at the northern end of the Dead Sea, near Jericho; and 
on this authority the Zoar of Lot has been identified with Tell 
esh Shaghur, not far to the east of the Jordan Ford. The Arab 
geographers are, however, unanimous in placing Zughar at the 
southern extremity of the Dead Sea, and in this they may be taken 
to confirm the tradition preserved by Josephus (who is followed 
by Eusebius and Jerome in the Onomasticon^ who speaks of the 
Dead Sea as stretching from Jericho on the north to Segor on the 

The misapprehension of the texts of the Arab geographers is, 
doubtless, due to a confusion of the two Ghaurs. For it must be 
borne in mind that the valley leading south from the Dead Sea to 
the head of the Gulf of 'Akabah is known to the Arabs as the 
Ghaur (see above, p. 31), and hence bears the same name as 
that applied by them to the Jordan Valley running up north from 
that lake. To the Arab mediaeval writers, Zughar, the City of 
Lot, was as well known a place as Jerusalem or Damascus. It 
was the most noted commercial centre of the south country, and 
the capital of the Province of Ash Sharah (Edom), being com- 
parable even to Basrah, the Port of Baghdad, for the extent of its 

To sum up the indications detailed below, Zughar lay near the 
Dead Sea, one or two days' march from Jericho, three days' from 
Jerusalem, one from Ma'ab (near Karak), and four from the head 
of the Gulf of 'Akabah. From all of which it is impossible that a 
town opposite Jericho, across the Jordan Ford, can be intended. 

To set the matter of the position of Zughar beyond a doubt, 
however, the testimony of Abu-1 Fida may be quoted, who gives 
the latitude of the town. For the case in point, the latitude and 
longitudes given in the Arab geographers though not exact pos- 
sibly as to the number of degrees and minutes are worthy of 
reliance for fixing the comparative position of places. The figures 
to be quoted prove that Zughar lay south of the middle of 
the Dead Sea, while Jericho, of course, lay north of this point. 
The latitude in the Arab geographers was reckoned, as with us, 
south to north, beginning at the equator ; the longitude, west to 
east, beginning at the Fortunate Isles in the Atlantic. 


These are the figures given in Abu-1 Fida (text, pp. 39, 48) : 

North Lat. West Long. 

Zughar . . . . 30 and a fraction . 57^ 

Central point of 'the Dead Sea . 31 . . 59 

Jericho . . . . 31 and a fraction . 56^ 

Baisan .... 32% . . .58 

Hence Zughar lay about one degree of latitude south of Jericho. 

The curious tradition (see p. 290) preserved in Yakut connecting 
Zughar and 'Amman with the two incestuous daughters of Lot, is 
derived from Rabbinical sources, amplifying the account given in 
the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis concerning the origin 
of Ammon and Moab. The two daughters of Lot are called in 
the Aramaic writings Rabbetha, the Elder, and Se'irta, the Younger, 
which in the Arabic have become Rubbah, or Rabbah^ and Sughar 
or Zughar. The name Rubbah is sometimes writen by mistake 
Rayyah (by the omission of a diacritical point ),* but that this is 
not the true reading is proved by its position in the alphabetical 
arrangement of Yakut's Dictionary, where the article ' Rubbah ' 
occurs in the section of Rb, not in Ry. 

In regard to the names of the Cities of the Plain preserved by 
Mas'udi and Yakut, it is worthy of note (in view of a possible 
identification of the site with some existing ruin), that Gomorrah 
figures as 'Amura, with the initial letter 'A in in place of Ghain ; 
thus preserving the transcription found in the Hebrew text where 
we have Amorah the pronunciation of Gomorrah having been 
adopted into our Bible from the Greek Septuagint version. t 

Though Zughar was such a large and well-known town during 
all the Middle Ages, no traces apparently remain of it at the pre- 
sent day ; at any rate, none have been described by modern tra- 
vellers, who have visited the southern shores of the Dead Sea. 
The same remark has also to be made regarding any remains of 
the other Cities of Lot mentioned by the Arab geographers. 

Our first description of Zughar is the account given by Istakhri 
and Ibn Haukal, in the latter half of the tenth century A.D. : 

* See in the Index, s.v. 'Kabbah.' 

t A full discussion of Segor, Sodom, and Gomorrah will be found in a paper 
by M. Clermont Ganneau in the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Explora- 
tion Fund, 1886, p. 19. 


" /ughar is a city of heat lying in a hot country situated very 
near the desert, but it is full of good things. They grow here 
much indigo, which, however, for dye purposes, does not come up 
to that of Kabul. The trade of the place is considerable, and its 
markets are greatly frequented. 

" In Zughar there is a species of fresh date called Al Inkila, 4 
the equal of which you will not find in 'Irak or elsewhere for 
sweetness and beauty of appearance. It is saffron coloured and 
of exquisite quality, and four (dates) go to a span length " (or " to 
a pound." I. H.). 

" The Country of Lot's People (Diydr Kaum Lut) is that known 
as the Overturned, or the Accursed. There is here neither seed 
sown, nor milch kine grown, nor herb nor plant of any kind. It 
is a black plain strewn over with stones all of about equal size. 
Apparently these are the * Marked Stones ' (mentioned in the 
Kuran, ix. 84), which were cast down on the people of Lot. On 
most of these stones there is what looks like the impress of a seal; 
and they resemble in appearance cheeses, and are extraordinary 
for their size and roundness." (Is., 64 ; I. H., 1 24, copied by 
A. R, 228.) 

Mas'udi, writing in 943 A.D., notes that "the Cities of Lot's 
People were in the Jordan Territory in the Province of Filastin. 
There were five cities, of which the capital was Sadum. The 
name of each of their Kings in turn was Bari', as mentioned in 
the Pentateuch. "t (Mas., iii. 222.) 

"The five cities of Lot were called Sadum, 'Amura (Gho- 
morrah), Admuta (Admah), Sa'ura (Zoar), and Sabura (Zeboim)." 
(Mas., i. 85.) 

Of Sughar, Mukaddasi writes, in the tenth century : " The 
people of the two neighbouring districts call the town Sakar (that 
is, Hell) ; and a native of Jerusalem was wont to write from here 
to his friends, addressing, From the lower Sakar (Hell) unto those 
in the upper Firdtis (Paradise). And verily this is a country that 
is deadly to the stranger, for its water is execrable ; and he who 

* Inkild dates are, perhaps, those the ancients knew by the name of NinroXaoi.' 
.See Mover's Phtrnicia, iii. I, 234. 

t Gen. xiv. 2 : ' These made war with Bera, King of Sodom.' 



should find that the Angel of Death delays for him, let him come 
here, for in all Islam I know not of any place to equal it in evil 
climate. I have seen other lands that were stricken by the plague 
but none so badly as this, not even the land of Jurjan (in Persia). 
Its people are black-skinned and thick-net. Its waters are hot, 
even as though the place stood over Hell-fire. On the other hand, 
its commercial prosperity is like Busrah (the port of Baghdad) on 
a small scale, and its trade is very lucrative The town stands on 
the shore of the Overwhelming Lake (the Dead Sea), and is, in 
truth, a remnant of the Cities of Lot, being the one that was saved 
by reason that its inhabitants knew nothing of the abominations 
practised in the other cities. The mountains rise up near, and 
overhang the town." (Muk., 178 ; copied by Yak., iii. 396.) 

" Between Palestine and the Hijjaz, that is, between Ar Ramlah 
and Wailah, are the stones which were cast at the people of Lot. 
They lie along the Pilgrim Road, being striped, and of size both 
large and small." (Muk., 185.) 

The tradition of Lot's Daughters, given by Yakut, is repeated 
twice, and then again referred to in his article on 'Amman (see 
Part II.). Zughar is also connected with other Muslim legends, 
namely those relating to the events that announce the Day of 

Yakut's account is as follows : 

" Zughar is a village in the Eastlands of Syria on the borders of 
the Stinking Lake (the Dead Sea). The Lake is called after it 
Bahr Zughar. It is near Al Karak. Zughar was the name of the 
Daughter of Lot who dwelt at this place, and from her the town 
was called. It lies three days' march from Jerusalem on the 
Hijjaz border, and they have much arable land here. Zughar is- 
mentioned in the Tradition of the Spy, called Al Jassasah, which is- 
a Beast lying in the Isles of the Sea who spies for news and carries 
it to the Antichrist, who is called Ad Dajjal. She is also called 
* the Beast of the Earth.' The spring, 'Am Zughar, will sink dowrr 
in the End of Days, and this is one of the signs of the Resurrection. 

" A man of the people of Tamim ad Dari relates that he and 
his companions were driven to a certain island in the sea by a 
contrary wind, and they found there a Beast. They inquired.. 


'Who art thou ?' The Beast answered, 'I am she who spies.' 
Then said they, ' Give us news.' But she replied, ' If ye want 
news, then turn to this Monastery, where is a man who hath desire 
to see you.' So the men went to him, and he said, * Verily ye 
must inform me, and give me news.' Said he, continuing, *.What 
doth the Lake of Tabariyyah ?' They replied, ' It laves its 
borders.' Said he, ' What doth the Palm of 'Amman and that of 
Baisan?' They replied, 'The people thereof gather the fruits.' 
Said he, 'What doth the Spring of Zughar?' They replied, 'The 
people thereof drink of it.' Then said he, ' Had it been dry, I 
had broken my truce, and trod under my feet all the water-stations, 
all except those at Makkah and Al Madinah alone.' And this 
Zughar is that which is beside the Stinking Sea." 

" Ibn 'Abbas further relates : When the people of Lot perished, 
Lot fled with his daughters, intending to go to Syria. But the eldest 
of his daughters, who was called Rubbah, died first, and she was 
buried at a spring which was called after her 'Ain Rubbah. Then 
after this the younger died also, and her name was Zughar, and 
she was buried near a spring, which was called after her 'Ain 

" This valley (in which Zughar lies) is most unhealthy, and its 
people only continue to dwell there because it is their native place. 
They are afflicted in most years with the plague, and it kills the 
greater number of them." (Yak., ii. 934 ; Mar., i. 514.) 

" The name of Zughar, according to the same authorities, is 
also spelt Sughar and Sukar" (Yak., iii. 396; Mar., ii. 159.) 

Of the other cities of the plain mentioned by Yakut are the 
following : 

" Dadhuma, one of the villages of the People of Lot." Possibly 
the Biblical Admah. (Yak., ii. 516 ; Mar, i. 381.) 

'Amura (Gomorrah) said to be " a Hebrew word, and one of 
the Cities of Lot's people." (Yak., iii. 594.) 

"Sadum (Sodom), is one of the cities of Lot's people. Sadum, 
however, says Al Madaini, is the city of Sarmin, of the Halab 
(Aleppo) District, and is a well-known and populous place. There 
is an edict in force here, that whosoever commits fornication, there 
is taken from him a fine of four Dirhams." (Yak., iii. 59 ; Mar., 
ii. 18.) 



" Sabwayaim (Seboim). One of the cities of the people of Lot." 
(Yak., iii. 367 ; Mar., ii. 146.) 

Finally, under the heading of Ar Rubbah, or Ar Rabbah, the 
tradition of Lot's Daughters is given again by Yakut in the follow- 
ing words : 

" Ar Rubbah is a village on the side of the Ghaur, lying between 
the lands of the Jordan and Balka Provinces. According to the 
tradition related by Ibn 'Abbas : When Lut (Lot) fled from his 
home, he had with him his two daughters, one of whom was called 
Rubbah and the other Sughar. And the elder of them died, that 
is Rubbah, near a spring, and was buried there. And they called 
the spring after her 'Ain Rubbah, and built over it a town called 
Rubbah. And Zughar, the younger daughter, died at 'Ain Zughar, 
which was in like manner called after her." (Yak., ii. 752 ; Mar., 
i. 460.) 

Among later accounts of Zughar the following note by Dimasliki, 
written about the year 1300, is the only one worth translating: 

" Zughar lies in the district of As Safiyah in the Ghaur. There 
grows here a kind of date like those called Al Barani and Al Izad 
in 'Irak." (Dim , 213.) 

Besides those already given, the following notes of distances 
between Zughar and the neighbouring towns are worth inserting, as 
tending to prove that this city lay at the south end of the Dead Sea : 

Zughar to Riha (Jericho), two days. (Is., I.H., Id.) 

To Jabal ash Sharah, one day. (Is., I.H.) 

And to the further limit of the same, two days. (Id.) 

Zughar to Kawus, one march. (Muk.) To Maab, one march. 

To Wailah, four marches. (Muk.) 


" Al Kalt," writes Yakut, " is a place in Syria where there is a 
well called Bir al Kalt. 

" The tradition concerning this well is as follows : Hisham ibn 
Muhammad reports that Ibn 'Abd ar Rahman the Kuraishite 
related to him the following, which he received from the wife of 
* See also p. 198. 


Shuraik ibn Habashah an Numairi. Said she : * We set out with 
the Khalif 'Omar ibn Al Khattab in the days when he went (from 
Al Madinah) up to Syria, and we halted at a place called Al Kalt. 
Then my husband, Shuraik, went to draw water, and he let fall his 
bucket in (the well of) Al Kalt, and could not get it again because 
of the press of men. And one said to him, " Put it off till the 
night-time." So when the evening was come he descended into 
(the well of) Al Kalt, but did not return. The next day 'Omar 
wished to set out on the march, but I went to him and told him 
of my husband's being missing, and he tarried during three days, 
but on the fourth was preparing to depart, when, behold, Shuraik 
appeared. The people inquired of him, " Where hast thou been?" 
But he (answered not, and) went before 'Omar. And in his hand 
he held a leaf, but the face of the leaf was hidden, for the back 
curled over and hid it. Said he, " O Commander of the Faithful ! 
verily I found in the (well of) Al Kalt a way, and one met me 
coming, and took me to a land the like of which is not among 
your lands, with gardens the like of which is not among the gardens 
of this world. And I asked that he would give me something, 
but he replied that this was not the time for such things. But I 
took this leaf, and behold, it is as the leaf of a fig-tree." Then 
'Omar called to Ka'ab al Ahbar* and said, "Hast thou not 
found in thy (Jewish) Books, that a certain man of our people 
should enter Paradise and yet return again alive ?" Said he, " Yea 
verily, and if he be among these men, I will point him out unto 
thee." Said 'Omar, " He is even among these men." So (Ka'ab) 
looked at them and pondered, and said, "This is he." And 
( : 0mar) proclaimed that the dress of the Bani Numair should 
henceforth be green (as it is) even to this present day.' Here 
ends the account." (Yak., iv. 157 ; Mar., ii. 439.) 


"Urim,'' says Yakut, ''is the name of each of four villages 
belonging to Halab (Aleppo) Province. These are, Urim al 
Kubra (the Great), tlrim as Sughra (the Little), Urim al Jauz (of 
the Nut), and Urim al Baramakah (of the Barmecides). 
* Concerning this personage see note to p. 142. 


" In Urim al Jauz is a marvellous sight. For there is here a 
building which was in ancient times a Temple, and the people of 
the neighbouring villages were used to see shining in it a light as 
of a white fire, but when they approached thereto it disappeared, 
and they could see nothing. It has been related to me by certain 
persons in Halab that on this building were once three tablets of 
stone with inscriptions, in ancient writing, to be interpreted as 
follows. On the tablet facing south it was written : 

" God is One ! this edifice was completed three hundred and twenty - 
eight years before the coming of the Messiah -peace be upon Him ! 

" On the tablet that was over the doorway was written : 

" Peace be on him who hath completed this edifice. 

" And on the tablet to the north was written : 

" This is the light of the East, beloved of God, which came to us 
in the days of Al Barbar, in the days of renewed conquest, in the 
days of the King Indwiis and Inds of the Sea who came to the House. 
And Kaldsds, and Kdsurus, and Baldbiya. On the izth of the 
month /////, of the date above mentioned. May peace continue even 
unto /he latter end of the World and the time of righteousness." 
(Yak., i 401 ; Mar., i. 102.) 


'Ain al Jarah, according to Yakut, is a domain near Halab 
(Aleppo). He continues : 

"Abu 'Ali at Tanukhi al Husain ibn Bint Ghulam al Babagha 
has related to me (Yakut) the following account, which he further 
wrote down for me in his own hand, certifying to the truth 
thereof : 

" There was (said he) in the neighbourhood of Halab a domain 
called 'Ain Jarah, and between this place and Al Haunah, 
which some also call Al Jaumah, was an upright stone, as might 
be for a boundary between the two domains. Now, whenever a 
quarrel fell out between any of the inhabitants of these two 
domains, the people of Al Haunah were wont to proceed and 
throw down this standing stone. As soon, however, as the stone 
had fallen, the women-folk of the two domains would come out 
publicly and in all their ornaments, but as though deprived of 


their reason ; and they would seek to commit fornication, neither 
were they to be restrained in the madness that possessed them by 
any sense of shame. To prevent this the men would hasten to 
the stone and set it up again as it was before, standing erect and 
firm; after which the women would return to their houses, regaining 
the discrimination of matters such as are abhorrent to commit. 

" Says the writer (Yakut) : I inquired at Halab for this domain, 
and they told me of it, and they mentioned that there was near 
by, in a ravine like a torrent bed, a standing column ; what this 
had been was not known ; neither had these people any knowledge 
of this story that had been related unto me, to the effect that 
when the stone was thrown down, the women (of the districts) 
would become possessed by erotic desires. 'Ain al Jarah is a 
celebrated domain, and one that is well known to all the inhabit- 
ants of Halab." (Yak., iii. 760; Mar., ii. 295.) 

The story of the Menhir, near 'Ain Jarah, is curious if true. 
The present village of the name lies north-west of Aleppo, near 
the road to Iskandarun. 


Ya'kubi, in the ninth century A.D., writes " Ba'albakk is one 
of the finest towns in Syria. It has magnificent sti-ne buildings; 
and there is also a wonderful spring, from which issues a copious 
river. Within the town are both gardens and orchards. Many 
Persians are settled here." (Yb., 112, 114.) 

"The stones of Ba'albakk," says Ibn al Fakih, "are one of 
the wonders of Syria. There are here stones, the smallest of 
which measures 15 ells; while the largest of them, a single stone 
in the wall, measures 10 ells (15 feet) in the height, by 15 ells 
(22 feet) in the breadth, and 45 ells (67 feet) in the length."* 
(I. F, 118.) 

Mas'ildi, in 943, writes : " At Ba'albakk, in the Province of 
1 )amascus, in the district of Sanir, is the Temple of Ba'al. The 
ancient Greeks chose this piece of ground, lying between the 

* According to Baedeker (Syria, p. 499), the three largest stones in the west 
wall of the Temple measure 64, 63^, and 62 feet in length, by 13 feet in thick- 
ness ; what the breadth is cannot be seen. 


Jabal Lubnan (Lebanon) and the Jabal Sanir, for the building of 
their temple, as being a choice place for their idols. The temple 
consists of two edifices, one larger than the other ; and in both of 
them are sculptures, most marvellously cut in the stone, such as 
you will not find the like of executed elsewhere, even in wood. 
For the height of the roof, the hugeness of the stones, the length 
of the columns, and the breadth of the porticos, are not more 
wonderful than is the building as a whole." (Mas., iv. 87,) 

Istakhri and Ibn Haukal write : " Ba'albakk, in the Damascus 
Province, is a city lying on the hill-slope. All its edifices are of 
stone, with castles (Kustir) of stone built with high columns. In 
all Syria there is no place more wonderful to see, or with greater 
buildings." (Is., 61 ; I. H., 116.) 

In Mukaddasi we read : " Ba'albakk is an ancient and fortified 
city. Within the ramparts are cultivated lands, also many ruins. 
Grapes are in abundance. Like the other cities of the Province 
of Damascus, Ba'albakk is prosperous and pleasant, being situated 
in the lands bordering on the Nahr al Maklub (the river Orontes). 
Ba'albakk is noted as being the coldest place in Syria. It is 
celebrated for the sweetmeat called Malban." (Muk., 160, 179, 
and 181 ; see above, p. 20.) 

Idrisi's account in 1 154 is the following : " Ba'albakk is a fortified 
town on the mountain flank. It is surrounded by a'wall of fortifi- 
cation, built of stone that is 20 spans ( ' hibr) in width. Water runs 
through the town, and passes also through most of the houses. 
On the river near the town are mills and water-wheels. The place 
has many crops, luxuriant vegetation, and quantities of fruit. The 
presses overflow with grapes, and there are trees that give all sorts 
of edible fruits, so that provisions are cheap. At Ba'albakk are 
the most wonderful edifices and ruins, which are everywhere 
celebrated for their magnificence and the solidity of their con- 
struction. There are especially two wonderful buildings that 
were theatres (al Mal'abain), one the larger, the other the smaller. 
The larger, ft is said, was built in the days of Solomon, the son 
of David, and it is most wondrous to look on. There are in it 
stones of the length of TO cubits, some more, some less. And 
there is also a part that is built up on high columns, and most 


astonishing to behold. The smaller theatre is, for the greater 
part, fallen into ruin, and its glories are of the past. There is 
standing at the present time but a portion of its wall, of the 
length of 20 cubits. It rises to a height above the floor of 
20 cubits, and there are in its construction but seven stones, one 
stone being at the bottom, and two stones lying thereon, and four 
stones being placed on the two. In this town of Ba'albakk are 
all sorts of other wondrous buildings." (Id., 15.) 

Yakut speaks in general terms of the wonderful remains at 
Ba'albakk, consisting of palaces with marble columns : " The 
city," he says, "lies 12 leagues distant from the sea-coast, and 
3 days from Damascus. Ba'al was the name of an idol, and 
Bakk is its neck, or the thin part of its body. They say Ba'al- 
bakk formed the dowry of Queen Balkis (of Sheba), and that 
Solomon's palace here was the one built on columns. Ba'albakk, 
at the Muslim conquest, capitulated after Damascus was taken. 
Jabal Sanir belonged to Ba'albakk. The Greeks built an idol 
temple here. Ba'al was the idol of the people, to whom the 
Prophet Iliyas (Elias) was sent. There are two temples here 
one larger, one smaller filled with wonderful sculptures carved in 
the stone as though it were wood, and high columns." (Yak., 
i. 672, 675 ; Mar., i. 162.) 

" Ba'albakk," writes Dimashki, " is a very ancient city, with 
remains of the times of Abraham, Moses, Solomon, and the 
Greeks. There are here columns reaching a height of 40 ells, 
not counting the bases, which are buried under ground. These 
are held together above by great blocks of stone, going from 
capital to capital. In the Cast'e of Ba'albakk are two towers, in 
the wall of which are three great stones, each stone measuring 
36 paces in length, and nearly twice a man's height in thickness, 
and as broad as the walls themselves. In the castle is a well 
called Bir ar Rahman (the Well of Mercy) ; and they say there is 
never water in it so long as peace lasts, but when a siege takes 
place, and terrors begin, it fills with water, which supplies the 
people till peace is made, when the water again disappears." 
(Dim., 199.) 

Abu-1 P'ida, writing in 1321, a few years later than Dimashki, 


says : " Ba'albakk, in the Damascus Province, lies among the 
hills. It is a very ancient city, having walls and a strong fortress 
very well built. It possesses trees, and streams, and springs, and 
is filled with good things. Muhallabi says that of old it was a 
very beautiful city, being the place of sacrifice of the Sabseans. 
One of their temples, which was held in high honour, was here. 
From Ba'albakk to Az Zabadani is 18 miles." (A. F., 255.) 

Ba'albakk was visited in 1355 by Ibn Batutah. He describes 
it as "a fine city, surrounded by gardens and orchards that 
almost equal those of Damascus. There are here cherries called 
Habb al Muluk (King's Cherries), such as are found nowhere else. 
There is, too, a kind of Dibs (molasses), called after Ba'albakk, 
which is a syrup made from raisins, and they add thereto a 
powder which makes it harden. Afterwards they break the pot 
in which it is made, and it remains all of one piece. From it is 
made a sweetmeat called Al Halwah, by putting in pistachios and 
almonds. This sweetmeat is named also Al Mulabban. They 
call it also Jald al Faras (Penis equi\ They make in Ba'albakk 
stuffs for clothes, also wooden platters and spoons. These last 
are made to fit one inside the other, in nests, to the number of 
ten." (I. B., i. 185.) 


"The village of Bait Lahm lies 6 miles to the south of 
Jerusalem. It is the birthplace of Jesus, and there is shown here 
in the church a portion of the palm-tree from the fruit of which 
Mary ate. This is much venerated, and is preserved with every 
care." (Is., 57 ; I. H., 112; copied by A. F., 141.) 

"Bait Lahm," says Mukaddasi, "is a village about a league 
from Jerusalem, in the direction of Hebron. Jesus was born 
here, whereupon there grew up here the palm-tree (mentioned in 
the Kuran, xix. 25) ; for although in this district palms are never 
found, this one grew by a miracle. There is also a church (the 
Basilica of Constantine), the equal of which does not exist any- 
where in the country round." (Muk., 172.) 

The traveller Nasir-i-Khusrau visited Bethlehem in 1047. He 
writes in his Diary : " At the distance of a league from the Holy 


City is a place belonging to the Christians, which they hold in 
greatest veneration ; and there are always numerous pilgrims of 
their people who come hither to perform the visitation. The 
place is called Bait al Lahm (Bethlehem). The Christians hold a 
festival here, and many will come for it all the way from Rum (or 
the Greek Empire). The day I myself left the Holy City I 
passed the night at Bethlehem." (N. Kh., 53.) 

Idrisi, in 1154, gives the following account of Bethlehem, 
derived probably from Christian pilgrims whom he met in Sicily : 
" Bait Lahm is the place where the Lord Messiah was born, and 
it lies 6 miles distant from Jerusalem. Half-way down the road 
is the tomb of Rachel (Rahil), the mother of Joseph and of 
Benjamin, the two sons of Jacob peace upon them all ! The 
tomb is covered by twelve stones, and above it is a dome vaulted 
over with stones. At Bethlehem is a church that is beautifully 
built, of solid foundation, spacious, and finely-ornamented even 
to the uttermost, so that nowhere among all other churches can 
be seen its equal. It is situated in a low-lying piece of ground. 
The gate thereof is towards the west, and there are (in the 
church) marble columns of perfect beauty. In one angle of the 
choir (al Haikal\ towards the north, is a cave wherein the Lord 
Messiah was born. It lies below the church, and in this cave is 
the manger wherein the Messiah was found. As you go out from 
Bethlehem, you see towards the east the Church of the Angels, 
who told the good news of the birth of the Lord Messiah to the 
shepherds." (Id., 9.) 

" Between Jerusalem and Bethlehem," writes 'AH of Herat, 
" is the tomb of Rahil (Rachel), mother of Joseph. Bait Lahm 
is the name of the village where Jesus was born. There are here 
the tombs of David and Solomon peace be on them both ! 
There is also a church most wonderfully built with marble, and 
gold mosaics, and columns. The date of its building is more 
than 1 200 years ago,* as is shown by an inscription on a wooden 
beam, which has not suffered damage even down to our own days. 
There is here the place of the palm-tree mentioned in the Kuran, 

* The Basilica was built by Constantine about 330 A.D. 


also the Mihrab of the Khalif 'Omar, which has in no wise been 
damaged by the Franks." (A. H., Oxf. MS., folio 41 v.) 

" Bait Lahm," writes Yakut in the thirteenth century, " is the 
place where Jesus was born.* It is a town near Jerusalem. 
There are fine markets here. There was here the palm-tree men- 
tioned in the Kuran. Palms do net come to maturity in these 
regions, and this one is an exception. It is mentioned in the 
Kuran, and gave dates to Mary when she fled into Egypt, being a 
miracle vouchsafed to her so runs the legend. There is here a 
Church, the like of which is none other in the country round. 
When the Khalif 'Omar was come to Jerusalem, a monk of Bait 
Lahm approached him and said, * I would obtain mercy of thee 
for Bait Lahm.' Said 'Omar, 'I know nought of the place, but 
would fain see it.' When 'Omar was come there, he said to the 
people, ' Ye shall have mercy and safe conduct, but it is incum- 
bent upon us that in every place where there are Christians 
we should erect a mosque.' The monk answered, * There is in 
Bait Lahm an arched building (Haniyyah\ which is built so as to 
be turned towards your KibJah ; take this, therefore, and make of 
it a mosque for the Muslims, and do not destroy the church.' So 
'Omar spared the church, saying his prayer in that arched building, 
and made of it a mosque, laying on the Christians the service of 
lighting it with lamps and keeping the building clean and in 
repair. The Muslims have never ceased to visit Bait Lahm 
(in pilgrimage), and go to this arched building to make their 
prayers therein, one generation after the other, which same is the 
building of 'Omar. It is well known by this name down to the 
present day, for the Franks (Crusaders) changed nought when 
they took the country. They say there are here the tombs of 
David and of Solomon peace be on them!" (Yak., i. 779; 
Mar., i. 187.) 

* It is, perhaps, not uninteresting to note that Yakut also speaks of Ahnas, 
in Egypt, to the west of the Nile, and not far from Fustat (old Cairo), as the 
place where the Messiah was said to have been born. " Mary, furthtr, remained 
there till He was grown and then set out for Syria." (Yak., i. 409; Mar., i. 105.) 
The palm-tree mentioned in the Koran, xix. 25, was, writes Yakut, shown here. 



Mas'udi in 943 writes : 

"It is said that the Messiah lived at a village called Nasirah, 
which is in the district of Al Lajjtin (Legio, Megiddo) of the 
Jordan Province ; also that the Christians (An Nasraniyyah) are 
called so from this place. I myself have seen in this village a 
church greatly venerated by the Christians. There are here sarco- 
phagi of stone, in which are dead men's bones, and from out these 
flows a thick oil, like syrup, with which the Christians anoint them- 
selves for a blessing." (Mas., i. 123.) 

"An Nasirah," writes 'AH of Herat in 1173, "is the city in 
which is the house of Maryam, daughter of 'Amran, and from here 
she came. The Christians are called after this place. Jabal Sa'ir 
is near by." (A. H., Oxf. MS., folio 31.) 

" An Nasirah," says Yakut, "is a village lying 13 miles distant 
from Tabariyyah. Here was born the Messiah 5 Isa (Jesus), the 
Son of Maryam peace be upon Him ! and from the name ot 
Nasirah comes the name of the Nasariyyah (Nazarenes, or Chris- 
tians). But the people of this place cast dishonour upon Maryam, 
saying that from all time no virgin had ever borne a child. They 
have there an orange tree, after the likeness of a woman. This 
orange-tree has two breasts, and what resembles hands and feet, 
and the nether parts also are as those of a woman ; also the 
government of this place is with the women. The orange-tree is 
(as a holy relic), procuring blessings to the people from Heaven, 
and none of the people of Nazareth reject participation therein. 
The people of Jerusalem, however, deny all this, and say that the 
Messiah was born in Bethlehem, of which fact they have manifest 
relics among them. Further, they say that His mother took Him 
and went to dwell in this village (of Nasirah). I, Yakut, may add 
that the text of the Evangel is that 'Isa (Jesus) peace be upon 
Him ! was born in Bethlehem ; but that Yusuf, the husband of 
Maryam, feared the wiles of Harudus (Herod), King of the 
Magians ; and he came to know in a dream that he must carry his 
Son down into Egypt for a time, until it should be again com- 
manded him to return with the child And so it was that it might 


be fulfilled what the Lord had made known by the tongue of the 
Prophet when He spake, ' Verily, I will call my Son out Egypt.' 
So Joseph remained in Egypt till Harudus was dead ; then he 
received in a dream the order to return to the land of the Bani 
Israil. He arrived at the Holy City, but feared to remain there, 
it having been the place of dwelling of Hartidus ; then it was 
revealed to him again in a dream that he should depart into Al 
Jalil (Galilee), and he went there, and settled in the town called 
Nasirah." (Yak., iv. 729 ; Mar., iii. 190.) 

"An Nasirah," says Dimashki, "belongs to the Safad Province. 
It is a Hebrew city, and was called Sa'ir (Seir). Here the Messiah 
appeared, it being also the place where the angels announced His 
birth to Mary. It is a well-known place of pilgrimage for the 
Christians, and is mentioned in the Pentateuch. Jabal as Sa'ir 
(Mount Seir, mentioned in the Kuran) is the mountain of Nazareth. 
The people of Nazareth were those who first became Christians. 
The Arab population of Nazareth were Yamanite tribes, while 
those of Kafar Kanna were Kaisites." (Dim., 212.) 



Ar Ramlah, founded by the Khalif Sulaiman The White Mosque. Hebron : 
The Tombs of the Patriarchs Visits to the Cave of Machpelah Inven- 
tion of the Tomb of Joseph. Acre ('Akkah) : Construction of the Port 
by Ibn Tiilun. Tiberias (Tabariyyah) : The Thermal Springs and Baths 
The Tomb of David. 


" THE capital of the Province of Filastin ; it was founded by the 
Khalif Sulaiman. The inhabitants of Ludd (Lydda) the former 
capital were removed hither, and Lydda fell to decay. It has a 
small river, the water of which the inhabitants drink ; the river 
Abu Futrus is 1 2 miles off. The population of Ar Ramlah obtain 
also their drinking-water both from wells and from cisterns, where 
they store up the rains. The population of Ar Ramlah is mixed 
Arabs and Greeks, also Samaritans." (Yb., 116.) 

"The Khalif al Walid," says Biladhuri, "made his brother 
Sulaiman Governor of the Province of Filastin, who took up his 
residence at Lydda. Sulaiman subsequently founded the town of 
Ar Ramlah, and made it his capital. The first building raised 
here was his palace (kasr), and the house called Dar as Sabbaghin 
(the House of the Dyers). In this last he constructed a huge 
cistern to serve to store water. Then Sulaiman planned the 
Mosque, and began to build it, but he succeeded to the Khalifate 
before it was completed. 

" Others of the Khalifs after him continued the building. The 
Khalif 'Omar ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz finished it, but only after having 
diminished the original plan, and he said, 'The people of Ar 


Ramlah should be content with the size thereof to which I have 
diminished it.' Now when Sulaiman was building his own palaces, 
he gave leave to the people to build houses for themselves also, 
and so they did. And he dug for the people of Ar Ramlah the 
water-channel called Baradah, and he also dug wells for sweet 

" Sulaiman appointed as his secretary to oversee the expenses 
of his buildings in Ar Ramlah and for the Jami' Mosque a certain 
Christian of Lydda called Al Batrik ibn an Nakah (or Al Bakah). 
Ar Ramlah had not existed before the days of Sulaiman, and the 
place was all sandy (as the name Ar Ramlah shows). The Dar 
as Sabbagh came afterwards by inheritance to the Abbaside Salih 
ibn 'AH ibn 'Abd Allah ibn al 'Abbas, for it was taken with their 
other possessions from the Bani Omayyah. Now the Bani 
Omayyah had spent much money on the wells of Ar Ramlah, 
and the water-channels, after Sulaiman's days, and when the 
Abbasides came to reign, they also spent large sums thereon 
and so from one Khalif on to another. So matters stood until 
the days of the Khalif Al Mu'tasim-billah, and he gave a per- 
manent decree for these expenses, and in order to save the con- 
tinual petitions there anent, commuted the grant into an annual 
charge to be defrayed by the tax-farmers, and to be accounted for 
by them." (Bil., 143, repeated by I. F., 102, and copied into 
Yak., ii. 817.) 

'* Ar Ramlah," says Mukaddasi in the tenth century, " is the 
capital of Palestine. It is a fine city, and well built ; its water is 
good and plentiful ; its fruits are abundant. It combines manifold 
advantages, situated as it is in the midst of beautiful villages and 
lordly towns, near to holy places and pleasant hamlets. Com- 
merce here is prosperous, and the markets excellent. There is 
no finer mosque in Islam than the one in this city. The bread is 
of the best and the whitest. The lands are well favoured above 
all others, and the fruits are of the most luscious. This capital 
stands among fruitful fields, walled towns, and serviceable hospices. 
It possesses magnificent hostelries and pleasant baths, dainty food 
and various condiments, spacious houses, fine mosques, and brond 
roads. As a capital it possesses many advantages. It is situatcc 


on the plain, and is yet near both to the mountains and the sea. 
There grow both fig-trees and palms ; its fields need no irrigation, 
and are by nature fruitful and rich. The disadvantages, on the 
other hand, are that in winter the place is a slough of mud ; 
while in summer it is a powder-box of sand, where no water flows, 
neither is anything green, nor is the soil humid, nor does snow 
ever fall. Fleas here abound. The wells are deep and salt, and 
the rain-water is hoarded in closed cisterns hence the poor go 
thirsty, and strangers seek water in vain. In the baths a fee has 
to be paid before the servants will turn the water-wheels. The 
city occupies the area of a square mile ; its houses are built of 
finely-quarried stones. The best known among its gates are the 
Gate of the Soldier's Well (Darb Bir al *Askar\ the Gate of the 
'Annabah Mosque, the Gate of Jerusalem, the Gate of Bila'ah, 
the Lydda Gate (Darb Ludd\ the Jaffa Gate (Darb Yafa\ the 
Egypt Gate (Darb Misr), and the Dajun Gate. Close to Ar 
Ramlah is the town of Dajun, with its mosque. It is inhabited 
mostly by Samaritans. The chief mosque of Ar Ramlah is in 
the market, and it is even more beautiful and graceful than that 
of Damascus. It is called Al Abyad (the White Mosque). In 
all Islam there is found no finer Mihrab than the one here, and 
its pulpit is the most splendid to be seen after that of Jerusalem ; 
also it possesses a beautiful minaret, built by the Khalif Hisham 
ibn 'Abd al Malik. I have heard my uncle relate that when this 
Khalif was about to build the minaret, it was reported to him 
that the Christians possessed columns of marble, at this time lying 
buried beneath the sand, which they had prepared for the 
Church of Bali'ah. Thereupon the Khalif Hisham informed the 
Christians that either they must show him where these columns 
lay, or that he would demolish their church at Lydda, and employ 
its columns for the building of his mosque. So the Christians 
pointed out where they had buried their columns. They are very 
thick, and tall, and beautiful. The covered portion (or main- 
building) of the mosque is flagged with marble, and the court 
with other stone, all carefully laid together. The gates of the 
main-building are made of cypress-wood and cedar, carved in the 
inner parts, and very beautiful in appearance." (Muk., 164.) 



In his introductory chapter, Mukaddasi writes : 
" If Ar Ramlah had only running water, the town would be, 
without compare, the finest in Islam ; for it is a pleasant and a 
fine city, standing between Jerusalem and the frontier towns, 
between the Ghaur of the Jordan and the sea. Its climate is 
mild ; its fruits are luscious ; its people generous being, however, 
also rather foolish. It is the emporium for Egypt, and an excellent 
commercial station for two seas." (Muk., 36.) 

Most of the gates mentioned by Mukaddasi may be easily 
identified. Regarding the Gate of the 'Annabah Mosque, it is to 
be noted that the village of 'Annabah lies west of Ar Ramlah. 
In St. Jerome's Onomasticon it is mentioned under the name of 
Anab, which was also called Betho Annaba.* 

The Gate of Ar Ramlah, called Darb Bila'ah, and the village 
of Bali'ah, mentioned in the above account, refer probably (but 
the reading is somewhat uncertain) to the BibJical " Baalah. 
which is Kirjath Jearim " (Joshua xv. 9). This place has been 
identified with the modern Kari'at al 'Inab (see Part II.), where 
may still be seen the ruins of the Church of St. Jeremiah, possibly 
the one alluded to by Mukaddasi. 

The next account of Ramlah is from the Diary of Nasir-i- 
Khusrau, who visited the city in 1047. He writes : 

" Sunday, the day of the new moon of the month of Ramadan 
(March i), we came to Ramlah. From Caesarea to Ramlah is 
8 leagues. Ramlah is a great city, with strong walls built of 
stone, mortared, of great height and thickness, with iron gates 
opening therein. From the town to the sea-coast is a distance of 
3 leagues. The inhabitants get their water from the rainfall, and 
in each house is a tank for storing the same, in order that there 
may always be a supply. In the middle of the Friday Mosque, 
also, is a large tank; and from it, when it is filled with water, 
anyone who wishes may take. The area of the mosque measures 
200 paces by 300 paces. Over one of its porches is an inscription, 
stating that on Muharram 15, of the year 425 (December 10, 

* See further on the two places called Betho Annaba and Beth Annabam in 
the Palestine Exploration Fund Special Papers, p. 250. 


1033), there was an earthquake* of great violence, which threw 
down a large number of buildings, but that no single person 
sustained- any injury. In the city of Ramlah there is marble in 
plenty, and most of the buildings and private houses are of this 
material ; and, further, the surface thereof they do most beautifully 
sculpture and ornament. They cut the marble here with a tooth- 
less saw, which is worked with * Makkah sand.' They saw the 
marble not in the cross, but in the length as is the case with 
wood to form the columns ; also, they cut it into slabs. The 
marbles that I saw here were of all colours, some variegated, 
some green, red, black, and white. There is, too, at Ramlah a 
particular kind of fig, than which no better exists anywhere, and 
this they export to all the countries round. This city of Ramlah, 
throughout Syria and the West, is known under the name of 
Filastin, the name of the province being transferred to its capital 
town." (N. Kh., 21.) 

"Ar Ramlah," reports Idrisi, "is a fine and populous town, 
having markets, and much merchandise and traffic." (Id., 4.) 

Yakut repeats the account given by Biladhuri and Ibn al Fakih 
(already quoted) of the foundation of Ar Ramlah by Sulaiman, 
son of the Khalif 'Abd al Malik, and of his buildings there. 
After stating that Sulaiman also laid the plan of the mosque, and 
began to erect it, he continues : 

" The immediate cause of the building of the mosque there 
was this. A certain scribe of the name of Ibn Batrik demanded 
of the people of Ludd that they should give him a certain house 
that stood near the Church (of Lydda), in order that he might 
turn it into an abode for himself. But the people refused it him. 
Then said he, 'By Allah, then will I pull down that other !' 
meaning the church. And so it came about, for at this time 
Sulaiman was saying to himself, * Behold the Commander of the 
Faithful that was namely, 'Abd al Malik did build in the 
Mosque (or Haram Area) of the Holy City a Dome over the 
Rock, and thereby obtained fame to himself; and, further, the 

* This earthquake is mentioned by the Arab annalists, who state that a third 
of Ramlah was thrown down, the mosque in particular being left a mere heap 
of ruins. See p. 101. 

2O 2 


Khalif Al Walid hath built a mosque in Damascus, and obtained 
fame thereby unto himself also why should not I, too, build a 
mosque and a city, and transport the people thither ? r So he 
founded the city of Ar Ramlah, and built the mosque there ; and 
this was the cause of the ruin of the city of Ludd (and of the 
church there). Now, when Al Walid was dead, Sulaiman had 
become Khalif. The land round these parts was sand, but 
Sulaiman laid out the plan of the new city, and turned a place in 
the town of Ar Ramlah that had belonged to the Dyers into wells 
of sweet water ; for, be it known, Ar Ramlah did not exist before 
the days of this Sulaiman. And he gave leave to the people to 
build, and they built in the city ; and Sulaiman dug for them the 
water channel which went by the name of Baradah. He dug 
also wells of sweet water." The account goes on as given above, 
p. 304, after which Yakut continues : "The drinking-water of the 
people now (1225) is from wells that are brackish. Those who 
are rich have a cistern, and lock it up. It may be noted that 
most towns that have cisterns possess good fruits and a fine 
climate (since there is no stagnant water). Saladin freed Ar 
Ramlah in 583 (1187), but laid the town in ruins, fearing the 
Franks should master the place a second time ; and it has 
remained in a state of ruin down to the present day." (Yak , 
ii. 817 ; Mar., i. 483.) 

Yakut states that " 'Askar is the name of one of the quarters of 
Ar Ramlah." (Yak., iii. 674; Mar., ii. 258.) The name is men- 
tioned also by Mukaddasi, and from it the Gate of Ramlah, called 
Darb Bir al 'Askar, probably took its name. (See above, p. 305.) 

Abu-1 Fida gives a summary of parts of the above, but adds 
nothing new. (A. F. 241.) 

Ramlah was visited by Ibn Batutah in 1355. He speaks of it 
as : " A large town. There is here the Jami' al Abyad (the White 
Mosque). They say that in the Kiblah part three hundred pro- 
phets lie buried." (I. B , i. 128.) 



The Arabs gave this town the name of Masjid Ibrahim, or the 
Mosque of Abraham, and also knew it as Habra, and Habrun. 

"Masjid Ibrahim," write Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, in the eighth 
century, " lies to the south of Bethlehem. In the Mosque, where 
Friday prayer is said, are the tombs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 
They lie in a row, and beside each of these is placed the tomb of 
his wife. This city lies in a valley between hills. It has many 
trees round it. The trees here as also in other hilly parts of 
Filastin are chiefly olive and fig-trees, also sycamores, vines and 
carobs. Other species are of rare occurrence." (Is., 57 ; I. H. 1 13,) 

Mukaddasi, writing in 985, says : 

" Habra (Hebron) is the village of Abraham, the Friend of God. 
Within it is a strong fortress, which, it is said, is of the building of 
the Jinns, being of great squared stones. In the middle of this 
place rises the Dome, built of stone and since the times of Islam 
which covers the sepulchre of Abraham. The tomb of Isaac 
lies forward, within the main-building of the Mosque, while that 
of Jacob is in the building at the back. Near by to each of these 
prophets lies his wife. The garden round has become the mosque- 
court, and built in it are the rest-houses for the pilgrims, which 
thus adjoin Sanctuary. Thither also has been conducted a small 
water-channel. All the country round Hebron, for the distance of 
half a stage, is filled with villages and vineyards, and grounds 
bearing grapes and apples ; it is even as though it were all but a 
single orchard of vines and fruit-trees. The district goes by the 
name of Jabal Nusrah. Its equal for beauty does not exist else- 
where, nor can any fruits be finer. A great part of them is sent 
away to Egypt and into all the country round. At times, here, 
apples of good quality will sell at a thousand for the Dirham (ten 
pence), and the weight of a single apple occasionally will attain to 
the equivalent of a hundred Dirhams (between ten and eleven 
ounces). In the Sanctuary at Hebron is a public guest-house, 
with a kitchener, a baker, and servants appointed thereto. These 
present a dish of lentils and olive-oil to every poor pilgrim who 
arrives, and it is even set before the rich if perchance they desife 


to partake of it. Most men erroneously imagine that this dole is 
of the original Guest-house of Abraham, but in truth the funds 
come from the bequests of a certain (Companion of the Prophet) 
Tamim ad Dari, and others It so being, in my opinion it were 
better to abstain from receiving these alms (lest the money have 
been unlawfully gained). Also there was once an Amir of Khu- 
rasanmay Allah have confhmed his dominion ! who assigned 
to this charity a thousand Dirhams \ early (or 40) ; and further, 
Al 'Adil, the Shar, the Ruler of Ghurjistan, left great bequests to 
this house. At the present day, in all Islam, I know of no charity 
or almsgiving that is better regulated than is this one ; for those 
who travel and are hungry may eat here of good food, and thus is 
the custom of Abraham continued, for he, during his lifetime, 
rejoiced in the giving of hospitality, and, after his death, Allah 
may He be exalted ! has thus allowed the custom to be per- 
petuated ; and I myself, Mukaddasi, in my travels, have thus 
been a partaker, so to speak, of the hospitality of the Friend of 
God." (Muk., 172.) 

Nasir-i-Khusrau visited Hebron in 1047. T ne account in his 
Diary is as follows : 

" From Jerusalem to Hebron is six leagues, and the road runs 
towards the south. Along the way are many villages with gardens 
and cultivated fields. Such trees as need little water, as, for 
example, the vine and the fig, the olive and the sumach, grow here 
abundantly, and of their own accord. 

" The people of Syria, and the inhabitants of the Holy City, 
call the Sanctuary (or Mash-had at Hebron) Khalil (that is, ' the 
Friend ' of Allah, Abraham) His blessing be upon him ! and 
they never make use of the real name of the village, which name 
is Matlun.* This Sanctuary has belonging to it very many villages 
that provide revenues for pious purposes. At one of these villages 
is a spring, where water flows out from under a stone, but in no 
great abundance ; and it is conducted by a channel, cut in the 
ground, to a place outside the town (of Hebron), where they have 

* Hebron in the early Arab annals is given as divided into four quarters or 
villages : Habrun, Martum, Bait 'Ainun, and Bait Ibrahim. Matlun is doubt- 
less a corruption of the second of these names. 


constructed a covered tank for collecting the water, so that none 
may run to waste, and that the people of the town, and the pil- 
grims, may be able to supply their wants. The Sanctuary (Mash- 
had] stands on the southern border of the town, and extends 
towards the south-east.* The Sanctuary is enclosed by four walls, 
built of squared masonry, and in its upper part (the area) measures 
80 cubits long by 40 cubits across, f The height of the (exterior) 
wal's is 20 cubits, and at their summit the width of the walls is 
2 cubits. The Mihrab (or niche) and the Maksurah (or enclosed 
space for Friday-prayers) stand in the width of the building (at 
the south end).^ In the Maksurah are many fine Mihrabs. There 
are two tombs occupying the Maksurah, laid so that their heads 
lie towards the Kiblah-point (south). Both these tombs are 
covered by cenotaphs, built of squared stone as high as a man. 
That lying on the right hand (to the west, Plan, J) is the grave of 
Isaac, son of Abraham ; and that on the left (or to the east, 
Plan, I) is the grave of his wife (Rebecca) peace be upon them ! 
Between the two graves may measure the space of about 10 cubits. 
In this part of the Sanctuary the floor and the walls are adorned 
with precious carpets and Maghribi matting that is more costly 
than brocade. I saw here a piece of matting, serving as a prayer- 
rug, which they told me the Amir al Juyush (or Captain-General), 
in the service of the Sultan of Egypt, had sent hither ; and they 
said that at Cairo this prayer-rug had been bought for thirty gold 

* The exact orientation of the quadrangle is fifty degrees true bearing, and 
consequently the great Mihrab of the Kiblah-point lies almost exactly south-east. 

t The exact dimensions externally of the Haram walls, as measured by their 
Royal Highnesses Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales, during 
their visit in 1882, are 197 feet by in feet. Nasir's measurement is some- 
what under the real size. The average height externally of the ancient (or 
Herodian ?) walls is 40 feet, or 20 cubits, as stated in the text. 

+ The present building, known as the Church, dates from the time of the 
Crusaders. The building Nasir saw has disappeared. The late Mr. Fergusson 
states in his book on The Holy Sepulchre and the Temple at Jerusalem^ p. 137 
(Appendix J), "I ascertained with certainty that there was nothing inside the 
enclosure older than the Crusades. The Gothic building which occupies the 
whole of the southern end was certainly erected either in the last half of the 
twelfth or the first half of the thirteenth century." The " Makstirah " of Nasir 
is probably the same building as the " Dome " mentioned by Mukaddasi. See 
P- 309. 



A. Entrance to the Western Cave. 

B. Entrance to the Eastern Cave. 

C. Hole in the floor, leading to a chamber. 

D. Hole in the Wall, opening into the Western Cave. 

E. Dome. 

F. Greek Inscription. 

G. Arabic Inscription, on a pier. 
H. Greek Inscription, on the wall. 

I. Cenotaph of Rebecca. 
J. ,, of Isaac. 
K. Mimbar, or Pulpit. 
L. Reading-desk. 
M. Cenotaph of Sarah. 
N. ,, of Abraham. 
O. ,, of Leah. 

P. ,, of Jacob. 

Q. Tomb of Joseph. 
R. Door leading to the same. 
S. Window opening into the same. 
T. Pier. 
U. Minaret. 
V. Minaret. 
W. Vestibule. 
X. Entrance Gate. 



Maghribi Dinars (or about ^15). Now, the same quantity of 
Rumi (or Greek) brocade would not have cost so much, and the 
equal of this mat I never saw elsewhere. 

" Leaving the Maksurah, you find in the court of the Sanctuary 
two buildings. Facing the Kiblah-point (south), the one lying 
on the right hand (or to the west, Plan, N), contains the tomb of 
Abraham, the Friend of Allah His blessing be upon him ! This 
building is of such a size as to allow of there being within it 
another building, which you cannot enter, but which has in its 
walls four windows, through which the pilgrims, when standing 
round it, may look and view the tomb that is within. The walls 
and the floor of this chamber are covered with brocade stuffs, and 
the cenotaph is made of stone, measuring 3 ells (in length), with 
many silver lamps and lanterns hung above it. The other edifice, 
lying on the left hand as you face the Kiblah (or on the eastern 
side, Plan, M), has within it the Tomb of Sarah, the wife of 
Abraham peace be upon him ! Between the two edifices is the 
passage-way that leads to both, and this is like a hall, and here 
also are suspended numerous lamps and lanterns. 

" After passing by these two edifices, you come to two other 
sepulchral chambers lying close one to another. That to the- 
right (or on the west side. Plan, P), contains the Tomb of the 
Prophet Jacob peace be upon him ! and that to the left (or east 
side, Plan, O), the Tomb of his wife (Leah). Beyond this again 
are other buildings, where Abraham the blessing of Allah be 
upon him ! was wont to dispense his hospitality ; but within the 
Sanctuary there are these six tombs only. Outside the four walls 
(of the Sanctuary) the ground slopes away, and here on the (west) 
side (Plan, Q) is the sepulchre of Joseph, the son of Jacob peace 
be upon them both ! over whose gravestone they have built a 
beautiful dome. On this side, where the ground is level that is, 
beyond the sepulchre of Joseph, and the Sanctuary lies a great 
cemetery, whither they bring the dead from many parts to be 

" On the flat roof of the Maksurah, in the (Hebron) Sanctuary, 
they have built cells for the reception of the pilgrims who come 
hither ; and the revenues of this charity are considerable, being 


derived from villages and houses in the Holy City. They grow at 
Hebron for the most part barley, wheat being rare ; but olives are 
in abundance. The pilgrims, and voyagers, and other guests (of 
the Sanctuary) are given bread and olives. There are very many 
mills here, worked by oxen and mules, that all day long grind the 
flour ; and, further, there are slave-girls who, during the whole day, 
are baking the bread. The loaves they make here are each of 
them of a Mann weight (or about three pounds), and to every 
person who arrives they give daily a loaf of bread, and a dish of 
lentils cooked in olive-oil, also some raisins. This practice has 
been in usage from the days of (Abraham) the Friend of the 
Merciful peace be upon him ! even down to the present hour ; 
and there are some days when as many as five hundred pilgrims 
arrive, to each of whom this hospitality is offered 

" It is said that in early times the Sanctuary (at Hebron) had 
no door into it, and hence that no one could come nearer to (the 
tombs) than the outer porch, whence, from outside, they per- 
formed their visitation. When, however, the (Fatimite Khalif) 
Mahdi came to the throne of Egypt (in A.D. 918), he gave orders 
that a door should be opened (into the Sanctuary), and he pro- 
vided utensils and carpets and rugs, besides causing many (con- 
venient) edifices to be built. The entrance-door of the Sanctuary 
is in the middle of the northern wall, and is four ells above the 
ground. On either side of it are stone steps, one stairway for 
going up, and one for coming down ; and the gateway is closed 
by a small iron door." (Kh., 53-58.) 

It is worthy of note that the only doorway that pierces the 
Haram walls at the present day is that found at about the centre 
of the eastern wall. As, however, the Kiblah point is really south- 
east though Nasir always speaks of it as south the long wall of 
the Haram on the left-hand (facing the Kiblah) is, in truth, the 
north-east wall, and a door in it might be said to face north, for 

In 1099 Hebron came into the hands of the Crusaders, and 
was bestowed a year later by Godfrey de Bouillon in fief on 
Gerhard d'Avennes. 

Idrisi, writing in 1154, has the following account : 


"Masjid Ibrahim lies about 1 8 miles to the south of Beth- 
lehem. It is a village that has become a city. In its mosque are 
the tombs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob peace be upon them ! 
and over against each is the tomb of his wife, as a companion 
thereto. The town lies in a valley, between the hills, possessing 
trees of all sorts, such as olives and figs and sycamores, and 
many kinds of fruits." (Id , 9.) 

'AH of Herat, writing in 1173, fifteen years before Hebron was 
retaken by Saladin, gives the following account of what he himself 
saw at Hebron some years before, while the town was still in the 
hands of the Crusaders. 'Ali's account has been copied by Yakut 
(Yak., ii. 468) ; the present translation is made from the text of 
the Oxford Manuscript of 'Ali's work (folios 43-45). 

" At Hebron, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah are buried, as 
also, it is said, are Adam, Noah, and Shem. 

" When I was at Alexandria in the year 570 (1175 A.D., other 
MSS. give A.M. 575), I heard a book read in the presence of the 
Shaikh Hafiz Abu Tahir as Salafi, but the name of the author of 
the work has now escaped me. And by mischance all my books 
were taken from me by the Franks, at the time of the battle of 
Khuwailifah, when they fought under the command of Al Inkitar 
(Richard Coeur de Lion), the King of the Franks. His mes- 
sengers came to me afterwards, and promised the return of what 
had been seized, and even the double of it should be given me ; 
but he desired as a condition that I should go and join him, and 
that I would not consent to do. All this took place in the year 

"In the work above mentioned, the author states that a certain 
man, being of a mind to make his visitation at Hebron, gave large 
sums in presents to the guardians (of the shrine), and had asked 
one of them, who was a Greek, whether it were not possible for 
him to take him down to see the (body of the) Patriarchs on 
whom be peace ! The man replied that at that time it was not 
possible, but that if he would wait till the press of pilgrims was 
over, that he could then do it. And so (when the time of the 
pilgrimage) was passed, the guardian raised up a stone flag (in the 
floor of the Mosque), and taking a lamp with him, he and the 


other descended some seventy stops to a spacious <u\vrn. The 
air here was blowing freely, and then.- was a platform on which 
lay extended (the body of) Abraham peace be on him ! clothed 
in green garments, and the wind as it blew tossed about his white- 
locks. At his side lay Isaac and Jacob. And the guide went on 
with him to a wall in the cavern, telling him that behind the 
wall lay Sarah, and he had in intention to show him what was 
beyond the wall, but lo ! a voice cried out, saying, ' Beware, for it 
is the Haram /' The narrator added that he returned, and came 
up by the way he had gone down. 

" I have read in the books of Moses that Al Khalil (Abraham, 
the friend of God) bought a piece of ground from Afrun ibn Suhar 
al Haithi (Ephron, the son of Sochar the Hittite) for 400 Dirhams 
of silver, and buried therein Sarah. Such is the account in the 
Pentateuch, but Allah alone knows the truth. 

"And I, 'Ali of Herat may Allah pardon x me my sins ! do 
relate the following of my own experience : 

" I went to Jerusalem in the year 567 (1172), and both there 
and at Hebron I made the acquaintance of certain Shaikhs, who 
informed me that [in the year 513 (1119)]* during the reign of 
King Bardawil (Baldwin II.) a certain part over the Cave of 
Abraham had given way, and that a number of the Franks had, 
by the King's permission, made their entrance therein. And they 
discovered (the bodies of) Abraham and Isaac and Jacob peace be 
upon them ! their shrouds having fallen to pieces, lying propped 
up against a wall. Over each of their heads were napkins [cr 
lamps], and their heads were uncovered. Then the King, after 
providing new shrouds, caused the place to be closed once more. 
And this was in the year 513 (1119). 

"The Knight Babun (other MS. Birun), who dwelt in Bait Lahm 
(Bethlehem), and held a high position among the Franks, on 
account of his knightly deeds and valour, related to me that he 
had entered this cave with his father. And he saw Abraham the 
friend and Isaac and Jacob peace be upon them ! and their 
heads were uncovered. Now I said to him, ' What was thy age 

* The words in square brackets [ ] are inserted from Yakut's text, and are 
not found in the Oxford MS. 


at this time ?' and he answered, ' Thirteen years.' Further, he 
told me that the Knight Jufri (Geofrey) ibn Jarj (George) was one 
of those whom King (Baldwin) commissioned with the renewal of 
the Patriarch's garments, and with the rebuilding of such of the 
edifice as had given way, and further, that this Jufri was still alive. 
Subsequently I inquired after him, but was told he had died a 
short time before. Now I, 'AH of Herat, do say, verily and of a 
truth, I myself have thus seen one who himself saw Abraham and 
Isaac and Jacob peace be upon them all !" 

In confirmation of 'Ali's account of the opening of the Cave of 
Machpelah, the following note is to be found in Ibn al Athir's 
Chronicle under the year 513 (1119;, that is, in the very year 
mentioned by 'Ali : 

" In this year was opened the tomb of Abraham, and those of 
his two sons Isaac and Jacob, at a place near the Holy City. 
Many people saw the Patriarchs. Their limbs had nowise been 
disturbed, and beside them were placed lamps of gold and of 

Yakut, besides quoting much of the above narrative from 'Ali 
of Herat, gives the following traditional account of the early 
history of Hebron : 

" Habrun is the name of the village near Jerusalem where 
Abraham is buried ; and Abraham's name, Al Khalil (the Friend), 
has taken the place of the name Habrun. The town is also called 
Habra. The building here was erected by Solomon. According 
to Ka'ab al Hibr,f the first who died and was buried here was 
Sarah ; and Abraham, wishing a place to bury her in, bought this 
spot near Habra for 50 Dirhams, and in those days the Dirham 
was worth 5 Dirhams of the present time. Sarah was thus buried 
here, and subsequently Abraham, Rebecca, Isaac, Jacob, and 
Leah (Li'ya or lliyah). Solomon, by Divine revelation, and directed 

* All the extant notices of visits to the sepulchres of the Patriarchs of 
Hebron are brought together and discussed by Comte Riant, in a paper in 
vol. ii., p. 411, of the Archives de F Orient Lat'.n, 1884. On Hebron in general, 
the note given by M. Quatremere in the Appendix (p. 239) in vol. i., part 2, of 
his Histoire des Sultans Mainlouks (one of the most useful of the Oriental 
Translation Fund publications), may with advantage be consulted. 

t On this personage see p. 142. 


by a light from heaven, began to build at Ar Rdmah, a village on 
a hill overlooking Habra ; then God said, 'Not here, for behold 
the light in the heavens, is it not above Habra, above the cave ?' 
So Solomon built over the cave the enclosure now seen there. In 
this cave was the tomb of Adam, and behind the enclosure is that 
of Joseph. Joseph's body was brought hither by Moses, having 
at first been buried in the middle of the Nile. The cave is under 
the earth, the enclosure is above and around it, most strongly 

" Hebron was given in fief by the Prophet to (his Companion) 
Tamim ad Dari and his family. There are named in the deed, 
Bait 'Ainun, Habrun, Al Martum, and Bait Ibrahim. These and 
all their dependencies were granted to Tamim." (Yak., ii. 194 ; 
Mar., i. 284.) 

Abu-1 Fida gives a short account of Hebron, but adds nothing 
to the foregoing. (A. F., 241.) 

The traveller Ibn Batutah visited Hebron in 1355, and we find 
in his Diary the following notice of the place : 

"The (Haram) Mosque at Hebron is built of hewn stone, and 
one stone is 37 spans (shibr) in length. The Haram is said to 
have been built by Solomon, aided by the Jinns. Within is the 
holy cave, where are the tombs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; 
opposite lie the tombs of their wives. 

" To the right of the Mimbar (pulpit), and close to the southern 
outer wall, is a place where you may descend by solidly-built 
marble steps, leading to a narrow passage, and this opens into a 
chamber paved with marble. Here are the cenotaphs of the 
three tombs. They say that the bodies lie immediately adjacent 
(beneath), and that hereby was originally the passage down to the 
blessed cave. At the present time, however, this (passage) is 
closed. To this (first chamber) I myself descended many 

Next follow proofs that these are the real tombs, quotations 
being given from the Hadith, or Traditions of the Prophet. Ibn 
Batutah adds that the tomb of Joseph is also seen in the mosque 
at Hebron. (I. B., i. 114, 115.) 

Ishak al Khalili (of Hebron), who wrote in 1351, records the 


following on the tombs of the patriarchs. His account has been 
copied verbatim by later writers, notably by Suyuti in 1470 (see 
J. R. A. S., new series, vol. xix., p. 290), and by Mujir ad Din in 
1496 (Cairo Text, p. 41) : 

"Muhammad ibn Bakran ibn Muham-mad al Khatib, who was 
Preacher of Abraham's Sanctuary, has reported as having heard 
Muhammad ibn Ahmad, the grammarian, relate the following, 
which is given in his own words : ' Once I went with the Kadi 
Abu 'Amr 'Othman ibn Ja'far ibn Shadhan to visit the tomb of 
Abraham upon him peace! We had sojourned there for the 
space of three days, when, on the fourth, the Kadi approached 
the inscription which is facing the tomb of Rebecca, Isaac's wife, 
and ordered it to be washed, that the writing thereon might be 
made clear ; and he set me to copy all that was on the stone, in 
exact facsimile, on a roll of paper that we had brought. And 
after this he returned to Ar Ramlah, where he brought together 
men of all tongues, in order to read what was thereon ; but no 
one was able to interpret it. But all agreed that the same was in 
the language of the ancient Greeks ; and that if any there were 
who knew how to read it, it would be a certain Shaikh of Aleppo. 
So the Kadi Abu 'Amr sent expressly to this Shaikh, requesting 
his presence at Ar Ramlah ; and when he had arrived, he caused 
me also to be present. And behold he that was come was a very 
ancient man ; and this Shaikh from Aleppo dictated to me as 
follows, being the translation of what I had copied : In the dirine 
and adored Name, the sublime, the mighty, the well-directing, the 
strong, the powerful ! Verily the mound which /< facing this is tJie 
Tomb of Rebecca, the wife of Isaac, and that which lies near thereto 
is the Tomb of Isaac. The great mound over against this is the 
Tomb of Abraham the Friend, and the mound which faces it on the 
eastern side is the Tomb of Sarah his wife. TJie further mound, 
which lies beyond that of the Tomb of Abraham the Friend, is the 
Tomb of Jacob, and the mound adjoining it is the Tomb of Iliya 
(Leah], Jacob's wife. And Esau wrote this with his own hand. 

" ' Further,* Muhammad ibn Bakran speaks of another manu- 
script, and that the copy of the inscription cut on the above- 
* This second account is omitted by Suyuti. 


mentioned stone, lying to the east, stated that the head of Adam- 
peace be on him ! lay below it. The interpretation of the inscrip- 
tion was as follows : /// the divine and adored Name, the high, the 
/nighty, the victorious, the strong, the puissant ! This mound which 
lies near this inscription is the Tomb of Rebecca, the wife of Isaac, 
and the mound thereto adjacent westwards is t/ie Tomb of Isaac, 
The great mound which lies on the opposite side, and corresponding 
thereto, is the Tomb of Abraham, and the mound which is facing 
this to the east thereof is the Tomb of his wife Sarah. The mound 
that lies farthest off, but in a line with the Tomb of Abraham the 
Friend, is the Tomb of Jacob, and the mound adjacent ifiereunto and 
to the east thereof, is the Tomb of his wife Illy A the benediction of 
Allah and His mercy and His blessing be upon them all I for purity 
lieth in His grace* 

" These, then, are the two accounts. Muhammad ibn Bakran 
al Khatib notes that the name of (Leah) Jacob's wife is lliya, but 
that in some books her name is written Laya (or Liya), and she is 
known also as Lika, but Allah alone knows the truth ! The Kadi 
mentioned in the first account Abu 'Amr 'Othman ibn Ja'far ibn 
Shadhan was a judge of high renown, and well known. The 
narrator of the account, however, was not certain as to the exact 
name of this Abu 'Amr's father. I have reason to believe that 
he was 'Othman, son of Muhammad ibn Shadhan. He was Kadi 
(judge) of Ar Ramlah during the Khalifnte of Ar Radi-billah, in 
the year 320 and odd (A.D. 932), and during the following years. 
He is an authority for traditions, which he held at many hands ; 
and a great number of very learned tniditionists cite him for their 

" The Hafiz Ibn 'Asakir writes : In a certain book of traditions 
I read and copied the following : Muhammad ibn Bakran ibn 
Muhammad al Khatib who was Preacher of the Masjid of 
Abraham the Friend (of Allah) states as having heard it from 
Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn 'Ali ibn Ja'afar al Anbari, who him- 
self had heard Abu Bakr al Askaf i give the following account :* 
* With me it is of a surety that the tomb of Abraham is at the spot 

* This is an amplified version of the account given by 'Ali of Herat. See 
P- 3I5- 



now shown as the same, for I have looked on the tomb and seen 
his body with my own eyes. And it was after this manner : I had 
expended great sums, amounting to nearly 4,000 dinars, on the holy 
place and its guardians, hoping thereby to obtain favour of Allah 
may He be exalted ! and I wished also to convince myself of the 
exactitude of what was reported concerning (Abraham's tomb). 
So when the hearts (of the guardians of the holy place) were won 
by all that I had done there in the way of pious deeds and 
generous giving, and in the making of presents, and honourably 
entreating of them, and other such bounties I proposed to get 
at the root of the truth which my heart desired to know. So, on 
a certain day, I said to the guardians, when we were all assembled 
together, " I would fain ask of you to conduct me to the door of 
the cave, that I may descend therein and be a witness for myself 
(of the tombs) of the prophets. The benediction of Allah and 
His mercy be upon them !" The guardians answered me, "We 
would certainly agree to do this for thee, for thou hast put us 
greatly in thy debt ; but at this present time the matter is im- 
possible, for travellers are constant in arriving. But do thou have 
patience till the winter shall have come." So when the month of 
the second Kanun (January) was entered, I went to them again ; 
but they said to me, " Remain with us yet awhile until the snow 
falls." So I remained with them till the snow fell. Now, when 
the travellers had ceased coming, the guardians brought me to 
where there is a stone which lies in the floor between the tomb of 
Abraham the Friend and that of Isaac peace be on them both ! 
and they raised this slab, and one of them, a man of -the name 
of Sa'luk, a just man, who did many pious works, prepared to 
descend to guide me. So he descended, and I with him and 
following him. We went down seventy-two steps, until we came 
to a place on the right, where we saw, as it were, a great bier 
built of black stones even like a merchant's stall in the bazaar 
whereon was the body of an aged man, lying on his back, long- 
bearded and hairy of cheek, with clothes of a green colour 
clothing him. Said Sa'luk to me, "This is Isaac peace be on 
him ! ' Then we went a little further, and came to a yet larger 
bier than the first, and upon it, extended also on his back, lay an 


aged man, the hair on his breast already whitened with age, and 
his head, and beard, and eyebrows, and eyelashes white also. 
He was clothed in green garments also, which covered his body 
and also the greater part of the bier, and the wind blew about his. 
white locks to right and to left. Said Sa'lftk to me, "This is 
Abraham the Friend," and I threw myself upon my face glorifying 
Allah may He be praised and magnified ! for what He had 
vouchsafed to me. Then we continued on yet again, and came 
to a smaller bier, on which lay an old man, with a face much 
browned by the sun, and a thick beard. On his body there were 
green clothes, which covered him. Said Sa'luk to me, "This 
is Jacob, the Prophet on him be peace !" Then we turned to 
go to the right, as though to go to the Haram.' 

"At this point, says Muhammad al Anbari, Abu Bakr al 
Askafi certified to me that his story must end. So I arose from 
beside him, the time of the visit, and of his telling me of all this, 
having drawn to a close. But at my next leisure I went to the 
Masjid Ibrahim (Hebron) ; and, coming to the Mosque, inquired 
for Sa'luk. Said they to me, ' Jn an hour he will be here.' And 
when he came, I went to him ; and, sitting down beside him, 
began to tell him part of the story (I had heard from his friend 
Abu Bakr). But he looked on me with an eye that would have 
denied all knowledge of the circumstances referred to by me. 
Then I turned towards him to gain his favour, and showed him 
that I was free of evil intent, for that Abu Bakr al Askafi was as 
my paternal uncle ; so he at length began to incline to me. And 
I said to him, * O Sa'luk, by Allah ! when ye did turn as though 
to go towards the Haram, what happened, and what was it that ye 
saw ?' And he said to me, * But did not Abu Bakr tell thee 
thereof?' But I answered, ' I desire to hear of it from thee.' 
Then said he, * We heard, as coming from out near the Haram, a 
voice of one crying : Depart ye from the Haram ! and Allah hare 
mercy on you ! And we both fell down, and lost all sense. After 
a time, coming to ourselves again, we arose, but despaired of life, 
and our companions (above) had despaired of seeing us also ever 

" The Shaikh further told me that Abu Bakr al Askafi lived 

21 2 


on but a few days after he had related to him this account, 
and Sa'luk, too, died shortly after Allah have mercy on them 
both !" 

. Suyuti in 1470 quotes, as already stated, the whole of the above 
account. He gives, at the commencement of his thirteenth 
chapter, the following tradition, which is doubtless derived from a 
Rabbinical source : 

" It is reported by Ibn 'Asakir, on a chain of tradition going 
back to Ka'ab al Ahbar, that the first person who died and was 
buried at Hebron was Sarah ;..*, then Abraham himself died, 
and was buried at her side ; then Isaac's wife, Rebecca, died, and 
was buried there, and later Isaac himself was buried beside his 
wife. When Jacob died, he was buried at the mouth of the cave, 
and when his wife Lika (Leah) came also to die, she was buried 
beside him. Then the sons of Jacob met together, and also Esau 
and his brethren, and they said, * Let us leave the entrance of the 
cavern open, so that when any die he may be buried therein.' 
But afterwards a dispute arose among them, and one of the 
brothers of Esau or, as some say, one of the sons of Jacob 
raised his hand and struck Esau a blow that caused his head to 
fall off, and it rolled into the cave. And they carried away his 
body and buried it without the head, for the head remained within 
the cave.* And the cave they closed by a wall. Then over each 
grave they erected a monument, inscribing on each severally, This 
is the tomb of Abraham, This it, the tomb of Sarah, and so forth, 
after which they all departed, closing the gates." (S., 289 ; 
M. a. D., 41.) 

Mujir ad Din, who wrote in 1496, inserts all the foregoing in 
his work. He further made very careful measurements of the 
Hebron Sanctuary, and has left a detailed description of the 
buildings there, as they stood at the close of the fifteenth century. 
Descriptions of the Hebron Haram at the present day correspond 
very closely with this account, proving that since the time of Mujir 
ad Din no very extensive alterations have taken place. 

Nasir-i-Khusrau, as early as 1047, notices the Sepulchre of 

* This is the Rabbinical tradition, found in the Babylonian Talmud. Sotah, 
\. 13. 


Joseph. kv on the west side" of the Haram at Hebron. ( )f the 
first discovery of this sepulchre said to have taken place in the 
early part of the tenth century A.D. Mujir ad Din gives an 
account, of which the following is a translation : 

" 'I 'he tomb of Joseph is in the plot of ground lying outside 
Solomon's enclosure (the Haram). It stands opposite the torn!) 
of Jacob, and is near that of his forefathers Abraham and Isaac. 
Now Ibrahim ibn Ahmad al Khalanji states that he was requested 
by one of (the Khalif*) Al Muktadir's women, Al 'Ajuz by name, 
who was sojourning at the Holy City, to proceed to the place 
where, according to the tradition, Joseph was buried, and having 
discovered the sepulchre, to erect over it a building. So Al 
Khalanji set forth with workmen, and they found the place where, 
according to tradition, Joseph was buried, namely, outside the 
enclosure (of Solomon), and opposite the tomb of Jacob, and 
they bought the field from its owner, and began to lay it bare. 
In the very place indicated by the tradition they came on a huge 
and this, by order of Al Khalanji, was broken into. They 
tore off a portion, ' and,' says Al Khalanji, ' I being with the 
workmen in the trench when they raised up the fragment, lo ! here 
lay (the body of) Joseph peace be upon him ! beautiful and 
glorious to look on, as he is always represented to have been. 
Now, first there arose from the place an odour of musk, following 
it, however, came a strong wind ; so I caused the workmen to set 
down into its place again the fragment of rock, to be as it had 
been before.' 

"And afterwards," Mujir ad Din continues, "they built over 
this place the Dome which can be seen there to this day, in proof 
that the tradition is a true one, and that the Patriarch is buried 
beneath. This Dome stands without the walls of Solomon's 
Enclosure, and to the west of it, being within the Madrasah (or 
college), called after Al Malik an Nasir Hasan,t which at the 
present day is called Al Kala'ah (the castle). You enter it 
through the gate of the Mosque which opens towards the market, 
and leads to the Eunuch's Spring ('Ain at Tawashi). It is a place 

* He reigned from 908 to 932 A. i>. 

f One of the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt. He was assassinated in 762 (1361). 


much frequented (by pilgrims, who are shown) here the grave (of 
Joseph;. One of the guardians of Hebron, Shihab ad Din 
Ahmad al Yaghmuri* by name, pierced a gateway in the western 
wall of (the Haram, which is) Solomon's Enclosure, and this 
opens opposite to the tomb of our lord Joseph, fie also set a 
cenotaph over this lower tomb, to mark the same, and to be 
similar to those that are above the other graves of the Patriarchs 
that lie in the Mosque (or Haram) of Abraham. This was done 
during the reign of Sultan Barkuk."f (M. a. I)., 64.) 

Of Mujir ad Din's description and measurements of the 
Hebron Sanctuary in his own day, the following translation gives 
the substance of the text printed in the Cairo edition (p. 56 et seq.}. 
The letters in brackets refer to the plan facing p. 312 : 

" Hebron Sanctuary ; measurements within the walls of 
Solomon's building. 

" The length from north to south, measuring from the back of 
the Mihrab near the Mimbar (K) to the further end of the shrine 
in which is the grave of Jacob (P), is 80 ells of the workman's ell 
less about \ or of an ell. 

"The breadth from east to west, measuring from the wall at 
the entrance-gate to the back of the western colonnade (riwak) in 
which is the window (shabbak) leading to the sepulchre of Joseph 
(S), is 41 ells, plus about J or an ell the ell being that used by 
the workmen of our day. 

" The thickness of the wall on all sides is 3^ ells. The number 
of the courses in its construction is fifteen in the highest portion, 
which is that near the gate of the Kala'ah at the south-west corner 
(near D), and the height of the wall here from the ground not 
including the part built by the Greeks, which lies above Solomon's 
wall is 26 ells. Among the stones used in Solomon's wall, there 
is one near the Tabl Khanah (Drum House), the length of which 
is 1 1 ells. The height ('ant) of each of the courses of Solomon's 
walls is about i| ells. There are two minarets that rise from the 
walls, one at the south-east angle (V), and the other at the north- 
west angle (U), and these are beautifully built. 

* Governor of Jerusalem and Hebron in 796 (1394). 

f The Mamluk Sultan of Egypt who reigned 784-801 (1382-1399). 


"As regards the description of the buildings, inside the walls 
there is a vaulted building (the Church) occupying about half, 
namely, the southern portion (of the area), and extending north- 
ward. It dates from Greek times. It consists of three aisles, 
and the middle aisle is higher than those that lie to the east 
and west of it. The roof is supported on four well-built piers. 
At the end of the middle aisle of this vaulted building is the 
Mihrab, and beside it is the Mimbar (pulpit) of wood, made in the 
reign of the Fatimite Khalif al Mustansir-billah, or order of Badr 
al Jamali, in 484 (1091). It was brought here from Ascalon in 
Saladin's time. 

" In this part (i.e., the Church) are the tombs of Isaac, near the 
pier beside the Mimbar (on the western side, at J) ; the tomb of 
his wife Rebecca is opposite beside the eastern pier (at I). This 
main-building (the Church) has three doors opening into the court 
of the Mosque. The middle door leads into the Sanctuary of 
Abraham. '1 his is a vaulted chamber of marble, with four walls. 
On its western side is the cell (N) in which is the tomb of 
Abraham, and corresponding on the east is the tomb of Sarah (M). 
The second doorway (of the main-building), which is on the east, 
and near the great entrance-gate in Solomon's wall, is behind 
Sarah's tomb. The third doorway, to the west, is immediately 
behind Abraham's tomb ; it leads into the colonnade. This gate* 
was built by Shihdb ad Din al Yaghmiiri, who also pierced the 
window in Solomon's wall opening into the place of Joseph's tomb, 
and this during the reign of Sultan Barkuk in 796 (1394). 

t% In the northern part of the enclosure of Solomon is the grave 
of Jacob (P) lying on the western side, and in a line with Abraham's 
tomb. Opposite this (O) on the eastern side is the tomb of his 
wife Lika (Leah). The Court of the Mosque between the tomb 
of Abraham and that of Jacob, is uncovered to the sky. The 
domes over the patriarch's tombs are said to have been built in 
the times of the Omayyad Khalifs." 

All the above, written in the year 1 496, tallies exactly with the 
present descriptions of the Hebron Sanctuary. (Cf, P.E.F. 
Memoirs, iii. 337.) 

* Now closed. 



" A city on the coast of the Jordan Province." (Yb., 115.) 
Mukaddasi, writing in 985 A.D., gives the following interesting 
description of the city : 

"'Akka is a fortified city on the sea. The mosque here is very 
large. In its court is a clump of olive-trees, the oil from which 
suffices for the lamps of the mosque, and yet besides. This city 
had remained unfortified until the time when Ibn Tulun (the 
Ruler of Egypt) visited it, coming from Tyre, where he had seen 
the fortifications and the walls which are there carried round so as 
to protect the harbour. Then Ibn Tulun wished to construct at 
'Akka a fortification that should be as impregnable as that of Tyre. 
From all provinces artificers were brought together ; but when the 
matter was laid before them, all averred that none in these days 
knew how the foundations of a building could be laid in the water. 
Then one mentioned to Ibn Tulun the name of my grandfather, 
Abu Bakr, the architect, saying that if perchance any had know- 
ledge in these matters, it would be he alone. So Ibn Tulun 
wrote to his Lieutenant in Jerusalem commanding that he should 
despatch my grandfather to him ; and on his arrival they laid the 
affair before him. ' The matter is easy,' said my grandfather ; 
'let them bring such sycamore beams as be large and strong.' 
These beams he set to float on the surface of the water, as a pro- 
longation of the town walls (seawards), and he bound them one to 
the other ; while towards the west he left the opening for a mighty 
gateway. And upon these beams he raised a structure with stones 
and cement. After every five courses he strengthened the same 
by setting in .great columns. At length the beams became so 
weighted that they began to sink down ; but this was little by 
little, and finally they rested on the sand. Then they ceased 
building for a whole year, that the construction might consolidate 
itself, after which, returning, they began again to build. And 
from where it had been left off, continuing, my grandfather made 
a junction between this and the ancient city walls, bringing the 
new work right up into the old, and causing the two to join 
together. Across the western gate of the port he built a bridge, 


and every night when the ships had come within the harbour they 
drew across the water-gate a chain, even as was the case at Tyre. 
It is reported that my grandfather received for this matter the 
sum of r,ooo Dinars (^500), besides robes of honour, horses, and 
other gifts, and his name was inscribed over the work. Now, 
before this harbour had been made the enemy were wont to take 
advantage of the ships lying here to do them grievous damage." 
(Muk., 162, 163.) 

This account is quoted verbatim by Yakut (Yak., iii. 707, 708, 
and Mar., ii. 271, in epitome), who adds that the inscription naming 
Abu Bakr the architect still existed in the thirteenth century, when 
he wrote. The method of building described, with stone-pillars 
used, as 'through-bonds,' is one much used in later centuries by 
the architects of the Crusaders. The remains of the double mole 
forming the inner harbour at Acre may still be seen, though at the 
present day these are almost entirely under water. (See Mem*. 
of S. of W. P., vol. i., 1 60.) 

Our next account of Acre is written by the Persian Pilgrim 
Nasir, who visited the city in 1047 : 

"After leaving Tyre, we travelled 7 leagues, and came to the 
township of 'Akkah, which, in official documents, is named 
Madinat 'Akkah. The city stands on an eminence, the ground 
sloping, but in part it is level ; for all along this coast they only 
build towns where there is an elevation, being in terror of an 
encroachment of the waves of the sea. The Friday Mosque at 
Acre is in the centre of the town, and rises taller than all the other 
edifices. All its columns are of marble. To the right hand, out- 
side the Mosque, and towards the Kiblah (south) is the tomb of 
the Prophet Salih* peace be upon him ! The court of the 
Mosque is partly paved with stone, and the other part is sown 
with green herbs, for they say it was here that Adam peace be 
upon him ! first practised husbandry. I made a measurement of 
the city ; its length is 2,000 ells, and its breadth 500 ells. Its 
walls are extremely strong; to the west and south lies the sea. 

* According to the Kuran (vii. 71), Salih was the prophet sent to convert 
the tribe of ThamCul. He is variously identified with the Peleg of Genesis 
xi. 16, or the Salah of verse 12 of the same chapter. 


On the southern side is what is called the Mina (or port). Now, 
most of the towns upon this coast have a Mina, which same is a 
place constructed for the harbouring of ships. It resembles, so to 
speak, a stable, the back of which is towards the town, with the 
side- walls stretching out into the sea. Seaward, for a space of 
about 50 ells, there is no wall, but only chains, stretching from 
one wall's end to the other. When they wish to let a ship come 
into the Mina, they slack the chains until they have sunk beneath the 
surface of the water sufficient to let the ship pass over them (into 
the harbour) ; then they tighten up the chain again so as to prevent 
any strange vessel coming in to make an attempt against the ships. 

" Outside the eastern city gate, and on the left hand, is a spring, 
to which you descend by twenty-six steps before reaching the 
water. This they call the 'Ain al Bakar (the Ox Spring), relating 
how it was Adam peace be upon him ! who discovered this 
spring, and gave his oxen water therefrom, whence its name of the 

" When you leave this township of Acre and go eastwards, you 
come to the mountain region (of Lower Galilee), where there are 
various places of martyrdom of the prophets peace be upon 
them ! and this region lies aside from the road of him who would 
travel to Ramlah. . . . Here I went and visited the tomb of 
'Akkah, who is the founder of the city of Acre, a very pious and 
great personage." (N. Kh., 12-14.) 

In 1104 King Baldwin and the Crusaders took Acre. Idrisi, 
writing in 1154, but from the descriptions given him by other 
travellers, remarks : 

" 'Akkah is a large city, spaciously laid out, with many domains 
round it. The city has a fine and safe port. The population is 
of mixed (nationality and religion)." ild, 12.) 

The next account is by 'Ali of Herat, who wrote in 1173. He 
gives the following account of the celebrated Ox Spring, a site held 
sacred by Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike, and a favourite 
place of pilgrimage of those days. The Crusaders ultimately 
turned the eastern part of the Mosque they found here into a 

"There is here (says 'Ali of Herat) the 'Ain al Bakar, from 


whence came forth the oxen wherewith Adam ploughed the earth. 
Over this spring is a Mashhad (or oratory) dedicated to 'AH ibn 
Abu Talib (son-in-law of the Prophet). This the Franks wished 
to turn into a church. And they set here (one day) a guardian 
who was to superintend the building thereof and serve the place. 
But on the morrow he came and said, ' I have seen (in my sleep) 
a person who spake, saying, / am 'A/i ibn Abu Talib ; say now to 
thy people that they shall leave this place to be a Mosque \ for other- 
wise will I destroy thee? But when the guardian told his country- 
men this they would not believe his words. And they set another 
in his place ; but when the morrow came behold they found this 
man dead. So the Franks abandoned their purpose, and it has 
remained a Mosque even to the present time. They say that the 
tomb of Salih is to the south of the Jami' (Mosque), but the truth 
is otherwise. The tomb of 'Akk, or 'Akkah, from whom the city 
is named, is also in the neighbourhood." (A. H., Oxf. MS., 
folio 32.) 

Our next account of Acre is from the Spanish Arab Ibn Jubair, 
who visited the city in 1185, a couple of years before the place 
was retaken by Saladin. The following is a translation somewhat 
condensed of those paragraphs of his diary which describe the 
town : 

" That night we stopped at one of the farmsteads, about a league 
distant from 'Akkah. The head man there who was the inspector 
of the affairs thereof for the Muslim landlord, and on behalf of 
the Franks also, for whatever the farmers did there in the matter 
of cultivation invited us as guests, and gave hospitality to all the 
people of the caravan, both great and small, lodging us in a broad 
gallery in his house and setting food before us. We remained 
there that night and the next day entered 'Akkah. And they 
brought us to the Diwan (Dogana, Custom-house) which is a Khan 
prepared as the halting-place of caravans. Before the gate is a 
carpeted platform on which sit the secretaries of the Diwan on the 
part of the Christians, before desks of ebony ornamented with 
gold work. These write in Arabic, and talk the language also, and 
their head is the Sahib ad Diwan (Chief of the Customs), and they 
take note of all that passes before them. 


" 'Akkah is the chief of the Frank cities of Syria, the great port 
of the sea, and the great anchorage for their ships, being second 
only to Constantinople. It is the meeting-place of Muslim and 
Christian merchants of all lands. The place is full of pigs and of 
crosses. The Franks took it from the Muslims in the first decade 
of the sixth century (of the Hijrah). They turned the Mosque 
into a church, and the Minaret into a bell-tower. But Allah has 
granted that a part of the Jami' Mosque should still remain un- 
desecrated in the hands of the Muslims, and here, as strangers, 
they assemble to pray. Near the Mihrab of this is the tomb of 
the Prophet Salih peace be upon him ! In the eastern part of 
the town is the spring called 'Ain al Bakar (the Spring of the Ox), 
it being that from which Allah caused the ox to come forth for 
Adam peace be on him ! The descent to the spring is by polished 
steps ; and over it stands a Mosque, the Mihrab of which remains 
in good condition. To the east of it the Franks have built a 
Mihrab (or oratory) for themselves, and Moslems and infidels 
assemble together to make their prayers. But the place is in the 
hands of the Christians, and by them is much honoured. We 
stayed in 'Akkah two days, and then went to Sur (Tyre)." (I. J., 
306, 307.) 

" The towns of 'Akkah and Sur have no gardens (immediately) 
surrounding them ; they stand in a flat country and along the 
shore of the sea. The fruits are brought into the town from the 
gardens that are in the neighbourhood. Both towns possess broad 
lands lying on the flanks of the mountain chain along the coast, 
and these are occupied by farmsteads. Their produce is brought 
into those cities ; and these lands are extremely rich. To the east 
of 'Akkah and at the further end of the town is a Wadi, down 
which flows a torrent of water, and on its banks, near the sea 
(mouth) is a stretch of land than which none can be seen more 
beautiful. No Maidan (or race-course) for horses can be finer. 
The (Christian) Lords of the town go there evening and morning, 
and the soldiers, also, for exercise." (I. J., 313, 314.) 

'Akkah, according to Yakut (Yak., iii. 707-709), is the most 
beautiful of the coast towns, and belongs to the Jordan Province. 
He next quotes Mukaddasi, and continues: "The Khalif 


Mu'awiyah of old gained -real glory by conquering 'Akkah and 
the coast towns. He refortiiied both 'Akkah and Sur before he 
set out to conquer Cyprus. After his days the fortification^ <! 
'Akkah fell to ruin, and they were restored by the Khalif Hisham, 
the son of 'Abd al Malik, and were the Frontier Fortresses of the 
Jordan Province. All the artificers of the land (of Syria) lived here. 
Then Hisham moved them all to Tyre, where they remained till 
about the Khalif Al Muktadir's day (\ i>. 908-932), when they 
were all dispersed on the coming of the Crusaders. 

"The Franks besieged 'Akkah by land and by sea in 497 
(1104), and took it, slaying many. The city remained in their 
hands till Saladin retook it in 583 (1187); but the Franks (under 
Richard Cceur de Lion) came against it again, and laid siege and 
dug a ditch, even though Saladin came and encompassed them 
without, and laid siege to the besiegers during the space of three 
years. None the less, at last the Franks again took 'Akkah 
from the hands of the Muslims in 587 (1191), and made captives 
of nearly three thousand Muslims; so the city remains still in 
their hands .to the present day." 

Thus far Yakut, who wrote in 1225. The author of the Marasid, 
who epitomized his work about the year 1300, adds : 

"'Akkah was retaken from the Franks in 690 (1291) by Al 
Malik al Ashraf ibn Kalaun (the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt , 
who made great slaughter of all the Christians here." (Mar., 
ii. 271.) 

Yakut (Yak., iii. 758) and the author of the Marasid (Mar. 
ii. 294) also mention the " Ox Spring," noting that it is held in 
veneration by Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike, and give the 
story of Adam's ox. Yakut adds that many other strange tradi- 
tions are related of this spring. 

A cursory notice of Acre is given by Dimashki (Dim., 2f3), 
which adds nothing, however, to the foregoing. Abu-1 Fida, 
writing in 1321, after a notice of the Ox Spring, continues : 

"'Acre is a beautiful city. The people have their drinking- 
water from an underground channel which comes into the town. 
There is a fine and spacious port, and artisans are numerous here. 
At the present day Acre is in ruins, having been brought bark 


into the hands of the Muslims from the Franks in the year 690 
(1291), and I myself was present at its capture, and had booty 
therefrom." (A. R, 243.) 

In 1355 Acre was visited by the traveller Ibn Batittah, who 
reports (I. B., i. 129) the city to have been in ruins when he 
visited it, "though formerly it was the Frank capital of Syria. " 
He mentions cursorily the 'Ain al Bakar, and the Mosque of the 
Prophet Salih. 


The capital of the Jordan Province. 

" Tabariyyah lies on the lake of the same name," writes Ya'kubi, 
" and is surrounded by hills. From the lake runs out the Jordan. 
At the city of Tiberias are hot springs, which bubble up and never 
fail summer or winter. They carry the hot water into the baths 
by conduits, and thus the people have no need of fuel for heating 
their water." (Yb., 115.) 

Istakhri's account is as follows : " The chief town of the 
Urdunn (Jordan) Province is Tabariyyah. It stands on a fresh- 
water lake 1 2 leagues long, by from 2 leagues to 3 leagues across. 
There are hot springs which flow out near the city, rising about 
2 leagues away ; but even when the water reaches the town 
although from the length of the conduit it has somewhat cooled 
it is still so hot that skins thrown into it have the hair removed, 
and it is impossible to use the water (for bathing) until (cold 
water) has been mixed with it. This water is what is generally 
employed in the hot baths and the (mosque) tanks (for ablution). 
At Tabariyyah they use (for drinking purposes) the water of the 
lake." (Is., 58; I. H, 113.) 

" Tabariyyah," writes Mukaddasi, " is the capital of the Jordan 
Province, and a city of the Valley of Kin'an (Canaan). The 
houses stand between the mountain and the lake. The town is 
narrow, hot in summer, and unhealthy. It is nearly a league in 
length, but has no breadth. Its market-place extends from one 
city gate to the other, and its graveyard is on the hill-slope. 
There are here eight natural hot baths, where no fuel need be 


used, and numberless basins besides of boiling water. The 
mosque is large and fine, and stands in the market-place. Its 
floor is laid in pebbles, set on stone drums, placed close one to 
another. Of the people of Tiberias it is said that for two months 
they dance, and for two more they gorge ; that for two months 
they beat about, and for two more they go naked ; that for two 
months they play the reed, and for two more they wallow. The 
explanation of this is that they dance from the number of fleas, 
then gorge off the Nabak fruit : they beat about with fly-laps to 
chase away the wasps from the meat and the fruits, then they go 
naked from the heat ; they suck the sugar-canes, and then have to 
wallow through their muddy streets. Beyond the lower end of 
the Lake of Tiberias is a great bridge,* over which lies the road 
from Damascus. The people drink the water of the lake. Around 
its shores are villages and palm-trees, and on its surface are boats 
which come and go. The water from the baths and the hot 
springs flows into the lake, and strangers dislike the flavour of its 
waters for drinking. The lake swarms, none the less, with fish, 
and the water is light of digestion. The mountains, which are 
steep, overhang the town." (Muk., 161 ; quoted at length by 
Yak., iii. 510.) 

Mukaddasi continues on another page : " Near Tiberias are 
boiling springs, which supply most of the hot baths of that town. 
A conduit goes to each bath from the springs, and the steam of 
the water heats the whole building, whereby they have no need of 
artificial firing. In an outer building they set cold water, which, 
in certain proportion, has to be mixed with the hot by those who 
wish to bathe ; and this same also serves in the (mosques) for the 
ablution. Within this district are other hot springs, as at the place 
called Al Hammah (the Thermal Waters). Those who suffer from 
the scab, or ulcers, or sores, and other such-like diseases, come to 
bathe here during three days, and then afterwards they dip in the 
water of another spring, which is cold, whereupon if Allah 
vouchsafe it to them they become cured. I have heard the 

* Either the Jisr al Majanii', or the bridge, at present in ruins, close to the 
southern end of the lake, called Jisr as Sidd. 


people of Tiberias relate that all around these springs, down to 
the time of Aristotle, there were bath-houses, each establishment 
being for the cure of a specific disease, and those who were 
afflicted thereby sojourned here and bathed for their cure. Aris- 
totle, however, demanded of the king of that time that these bath- 
houses should be pulled down, lest thereby men should become 
exempt from recourse to physicians. That there are here several 
different waters, with various medicinal properties, would appear 
to be a certain fact ; for every sick person who comes here now 
is obliged each one to immerse himself completely in the (mixed) 
waters, in order to insure that he shall get to that which, in 
particular, may heal his special disorder. Among the villages 
near Maab, also, there is another hot-spring, called Hammah." 
(Muk., 185.) 

The springs here mentioned must be those of Gadara, or 
Amatha, in the Yarmuk Valley, near the present town of 
Umm Keis. 

Tiberias was visited by Nasir-i-Khusrau in 1047. He writes in 
his Diary : 

" Leaving Irbil we came down a valley, at the further end of 
which were visible the lake and the city of Tabariyyah upon the 
shore of the same. The length of the lake (of Tiberias) I would 
estimate at 6 leagues, and its breadth may be 3 leagues. The 
\vater of the lake is sweet and of good flavour. The town lies on 
the western shore. The waters from the hot springs near by, and 
the drainage- water of the houses, all flow into the lake ; and yet 
the population of the city, and of the places along the shore of 
the lake, do, none the less, all of them drink of the w r aters thereof. 
I heard that once upon a time a certain governor of the city gave 
orders that they should prevent the refuse of the city and the 
sewage from draining thus into the lake. But (after his orders 
were carried out) the water of the lake itself became fetid, so as 
to be no longer fit for drinking ; and on his ordering that the 
sewers should again be allowed to open therein, the lake- water 
became once more sweet as aforetimes. The city has a strong 
wall that, beginning at the borders of the lake, goes all round the 
town ; but on the water side there is no wall. There are number- 


less buildings erected in the very water, for the bed of the lake in 
this part is rock; and they have built pleasure houses that are 
supported on columns of marble, rising up out of the water. The 
lake is very full of fish. 

" The Friday Mosque is in the midst of the town. At the gate 
of the mosque is a spring, over which they have built a hot bath : 
and the water of this spring is so hot that, until it has been mixed 
with cold water, you cannot bear to have it poured over you. 
They say this hot bath was built by Solomon, the son of David 
peace be upon them both ! and I myself did visit it. There is, 
too, on the western side of the town of Tiberias a mosque known 
as the Jasmine Mosque (Masjidi- Ydsmin). It is a fine building, 
and in the middle part rises a great platform (dukkan\ where they 
have their Mihrabs (or prayer-niches). All round those they have 
set jasmine-shrubs, from which the mosque derives its name. In 
the colonnade, on the eastern side, is the tomb of Yusha' ibn Nun 
(Joshua, the son of Nun); and underneath the great platform 
aforesaid are shown the tombs of the seventy prophets peace be 
upon them !- -whom the children of Israel slew. In the town of 
Tiberias they make prayer-mats of reeds, which sell in the place 
itself for five Maghribi Dinars (or over 2} a-piece. On the west of 
the city rises a mountain, upon which has been built in hewn 
stone a castle ; and there is here an inscription in Hebrew 
characters, stating that, at the time it was cut, the Pleiades stood 
at the head of the zodiacal sign of the Ram. The tomb of Abu 
Hurairah (the Prophet's Companion) lies outside the city, towards 
the south ; but no one can go and visit it, for the people who live 
here are of the Shi'ah sect, and as soon as anyone comes to make 
the visitation, the boys begin a tumult, and raise a disturbance 
about him that ends in stone-throwing, wherefrom injuries are 
received." (N. Kh., 16.) 

The castle here mentioned is probably the remains of Herod's 
Castle, now called Kasr Bint al Malik (the Palace of the King's 
Daughter), lately visited and described by Herr Schumacher in 
the P. E. F. Quarterly Statement for April, 1887. 

Abu Hurairah, one of the Prophet's Companions, whose tomb 
Nasir was unable to visit, died, in A.H. 57 (677), at 'Akik. His 



body, say the historians, was taken into Al Madinah, and buried 
in the well-known cemetery of Al Baki'. (Cf. Ibn Khallikan's 
Biographical Dictionary, translated by De Slane, i. 570.) In con- 
firmation of Nasir's account, that his tomb was in old times shown 
at a village near Tiberias, is a stone of 'Ajlun marble, measuring 
2 feet 7 inches by 2 feet, lately discovered in this neighbourhood 
by Herr Schumacher. It bears on its face an Arabic inscription 
to the following effect : 

"In the name of Allah the Compassionate, the Merciful ! Say : 
He is one God God the Everlasting! He begetteth not, and He 
is not begotten, and there is none like unto Him* This is the Tomb 
of Abu Hurairah, the Companion of the Apostle of Allah : upon 
whom be the peace of Allah and His blessing" 

In the place where this stone was discovered, Herr Schumacher 
noted traces of an ancient mosque. (P. E. F. Quarterly State- 
ment, April, 1887, p. 89.) 

" Tabariyyah," according to Idrisi's work, written in 1154, "is 
a great city in the Province of the Jordan, and the capital thereof. 
It is a beautiful town, lying on the slope of the mountain ; and it 
stretches out in the length, for its breadth is small. In length it 
is near to a couple of miles. At the base of the town, on its 
western part, is a lake of sweet water 12 miles long, and the like 
in breadth ; and over it sail vessels that carry the crops of the 
lands round the lake to the city. It has fortified walls. They 
manufacture here the mats called As Samaniyyah; and marvellous 
they are, and very little are they manufactured elsewhere in any 
of the other towns of this land. In Tiberias are hot baths with 
hot water that is not heated with fire. The water remains hot 
summer and winter. Among them is the bath called Hammam 
ad Damakir ; it is very large, and the \vater when it first gushes 
from the ground is so hot that they scald kid skins and fowls 
therein, and you may boil eggs in it. The water is salt. Then 
there is the Hammam Lulu, which is smaller than the Hammam 
ad Damakir. Its water is hot, but sweet ; and the warm water is 
distributed among the houses in the neighbourhood, being used 
for washing and other purposes. Of other baths is the Hammam 

* This first paragraph forms the H2th chapter of the Kuran. 


;il Minjadah. In all Tiberias there is no Hammam that is heated 
with fire except only the Small Bath (A! Hammam as Saghir), and 
this was originally built by a certain one of the Muslim kings in 
his private house for his own use, and for the use of his wives, and 
his children, and his servants. When he died the bath was thrown 
open and given to the people for the public to use, and in it alone 
is the water heated with fire. 

" To the south of Tiberias are great Hammams, such as 'Ain 
Mauki'in, and 'Ain ash Sharaf (or 'Ain ash Sharab), and others, 
wherein at all seasons flow out springs of hot water. Sick people 
from all the neighbouring countries come to these, such as 
those who suffer from lumbago, and paralysis, and rheumatism, 
and those with ulcers and the scab ; and they remain in the water 
during three days, and then by the permission of Allah they 
become healed." (Id., 10.) 

'Ali of Herat has the following notices of places of visitation 
lying near Tiberias. The text will be found on folios 27, 28, and 
30, of the Oxford MS., and they have been copied by Yakut into 
his Dictionary : 

" To the east of the lake is said to be the tomb of Sulaiman 
(King Solomon) ibn Daiid ; but the truth is that his tomb is at 
Bait Lahm, both he and his father being buried in the cave where 
Jesus was born (at Bethlehem). On the east of the lake also is 
the tomb of Lukman, the sage (.Ksop). At Tabariyyah is the 
spring of water which is called after 'isa (Jesus), the son of Mary 
peace be upon Him ! and the Church of the Tree (Kamsah as/i 
ShajaraJi), about which there is a wondrous history concerning 
'isa ibn Maryam peace be upon Him! and the dyers (or 
artisans). It is mentioned in the Evahgil, and was the first 
miracle that He did. 

" On the spur of the Mountain of Tabariyyah is the tomb of 
Abu Hurairah." (Copied in Yak., iii. 512.) 

The story of Jesus and the artisans, or dyers for the MSS. 
vary in the reading of the word is presumably some apocryphal 
version of the marriage of Cana. 

'Ali of Herat continues: "The Hammam (or hot baths) of 
Tiberias are considered one of the wonders of the world. They 

22 2 


lie at the Gate of Tabariyyah, and beside the lake. Of the like 
of this we have seen many in other parts of the world. But that 
which is the real wonder of the world is the Hammam at a place 
in the dependencies of Tabariyyah, and to the east of it at a 
village called Al Husainiyyah, in the Wadi (of the Varmuk). 
Here there are ancient structures said to have been built by 
Solomon, the son of David, and one building was originally a 
temple. The water flows out from the forepart of the building, 
pouring forth from twelve openings, and each spring is especially 
purposed to cure a special disease. The water is extremely hot, 
but is perfectly limpid and sweet to drink." (Copied by Yakut, 
iii. 510.) 

" Tabariyyah," writes Yakut, " is a small town on the shore of 
the lake of that name. It lies three days distant from Damascus, 
and the like from Jerusalem, and two days from 'Akkah, being in 
the Jordan Province and in the Ghaur. The town in shape is 
long and narrow, till it attains the slope of a small mountain near 
by, on which are other buildings. There are hot salt springs here, 
over which they have built Hammams, and they use no fuel. 
Tabariyyah is called after Tabara (Tiberias), one of the Greek 
kings. He built the baths here, for he saw no fuel was needed, 
hot water gushing out by night and day. Tabariyyah was first 
conquered by (the Arab commander) Shurahbil in the year 13 
(634) by capitulation ; one half of the houses and churches were 
to belong to the Muslims, the other half to the Christians, 
Between Tabariyyah and Baisan is another hot bath called the 
Hammah of Solomon, the son of David. They say it cures all 
kinds of diseases. 

"In the middle of the lake is a sculptured stone, with upper 
rows of stones set thereon. It may be seen from afar off. It is 
said by the people of the neighbourhood to be the tomb of 
David." (Yak., iii. 509.) 

"Tabariyyah," writes Dimashki, "in the Safad District, was 
originally the capital of the Jordan Jund. It is a city that is 
built along the shore of the lake. The latter is 12 miles long, 
and 6 miles across. The mountains surround it on all sides. 
Out of the lake runs the Shari'ah (River Jordan), which flows 


down to the Lake of Zughar (the Dead Sea). On the shore of 
the Lake of Tabariyyah are some springs of extremely hot water, 
called Al Hammamat (the Hot Baths). The water of these 
springs is salt and sulphurous, and is very useful in cases of swollen 
limbs, dry mange, or for excess of phlegm, and extreme corpu- 
lence. They say that the tomb of Solomon, the son of David, is 
in this lake." (Dim., 211.) 

Abu-1 Fida gives much of the above in epitome, but adds no 
new facts. In his day the city was in ruins, never having re- 
covered the siege by Salad in, who took it from the Crusaders in 

Tabariyyah was visited in 1355 by Ibn Batutah. He speaks of 
it as a large and ancient town, now in ruins : " There are," he 
says, "baths here, with bath-houses for both men and women, 
and the waters are very hot. The Lake of Tabariyyah is 6 leagues 
long, and 3 leagues broad. At Tabariyyah is the Mosque of the 
Prophets. Here also is the tomb of Shu'aib (Jethro), and of his 
daughter, the wife of Moses. The tombs of Solomon, Yahudfi 
(Judah), and RClbil (Reuben), are also shown here." (I. B., 
i. 132.) 



Tyre (Sur). Sidon (Saida). Tripoli (Tarabulus, or Atrabulus) : The Old 
and the New Town The Castles of the Assassins. Hims (Emessa) : 
The Talisman against Scorpions. Hamah (Hamath) : The Ancient 
Castle. Aleppo (H&\ak>} : Ibn Butlan's Description The Castle. Antioch 
(Antakiyyah) : Christian Churches and Convents Description by Ibn 
Ikitlan The Great Storm of the Year 1050 A. D. Tradition of Habib an 
Najar. Tarsus : The Frontier Fortress, and the Garrison. 


" A CITY of the Jordan Province," writes Ya'kubi. " It is the chief 
town of the coast districts, and contains the Arsenal (Dar as 
SancCah). From here sail the Sultan's ships on the expeditions 
against the Greeks. It is a beautiful place, and fortified. The 
population is of mixed nationality." (Yb., 115.) 

"Sur in the Jordan Province is one of the most strongly 
fortified of the sea-coast towns. It is populous, and its lands 
are fertile. They say it is the most ancient of the coast towns, 
and that most of the Greek philosophers were from it." (Is., 59 ; 
I. H, 114.) 

Mukaddasi in 985, writes : " Tyre is a fortified town on the sea, 
or rather in the sea, for you enter the town through one gate only, 
over a bridge, and the sea lies all round it. The city consists of 
two quarters ; the first being built on the terra firma ; while the 
second, (the harbour) beyond this, is an area enclosed by triple 

* Tyre, in Hebrew Tsor, becomes regularly Sur in Arabic ; while the 
Arabic word Tur is the name given to Sinai, Tabor, and other conspicuous 
mountains or hills. See p. 72. 


walls with no earth appearing, for the walls rise out of the sea. 
Into this harbour the ships come every night, and then a chain is 
drawn across, whereby the Greeks are prevented from molesting 
them. Water is brought into the town by means of a vaulted 
aqueduct. Tyre is a beautiful and pleasant city. Many artificers 
dwell here, and ply their special trades. Between Tyre and Acre 
lies a bay of the sea, and thus the proverb says * Acre is opposite 
Tyre ; but getting to it you will tire,' that is, travelling all along 
the sea-shore." (Muk., 163.) 

Tyre was visited by Nasir-i-Khusrau in 1047. He writes in his 
Diary : 

" Five leagues from Sidon we came to Tyre, a town that rises 
on the shore of the sea. They have built the city on a rock 
(which is in the sea), after such a manner, that the town-wall, for 
one hundred yards only, is upon the dry land, and the remainder 
rises up from out the very water. The walls are built of hewn 
stone, their joints being set in bitumen in order to keep the water 
out. I estimated the area of the town to be a thousand (cubits;* 
square, and its caravanserais are built of five or six stories, set one 
above the other. There are numerous fountains of water ; the 
bazaars are very clean, also great is the quantity of wealth exposed. 
This city of Tyre is, in fact, renowned for wealth and power 
among all the maritime cities of Syria. The population for the 
most part are of the Shi'ah sect, but the Kadi (or judge) of the 
place is a Sunni. He is known as the son of Abu 'Akil, and is a 
good man, also very wealthy. They have erected a Mash-had (a 
shrine, or place of martyrdom) at the city gate, where one may 
see great quantities of carpets and hangings, and lamps and 
lanterns of gold and silver. The town itself stands on an eminence. 
Water is brought thereto from the mountain ; and leading up to 
the town-gate they have built arches (for the aqueduct), along 
which the water comes into the city. In these mountains is the 
valley (of the Battaf), over against this city, and running eastward, 
through which, after eighteen leagues, you come to the City of 
Damascus." (N. Kh., u.) 

* The word arsh is, I suppose, to be understood. None of the MSS. give 
the measure employed. 


In 1124 the Crusaders, under Baldwin II., besieged and took 
Tyre, and the Franks afterwards held the city till 1291, when it 
was retaken by the Muslims. 

"Sur,"-says Idrisi, in 1154, "is a fine city upon the sea-shore, 
where there is a harbour for vessels to moor in, and to sail from. 
It is a fortified place, and of ancient date. The sea surrounds it 
on three sides, and there is a large suburb. They make here 
long-necked vases of glass and pottery. Also a sort of white 
clothes-stuff which is exported thence to all parts, being extremely 
fine, and well woven beyond compare. The price also is very 
high ; and in butYew of the neighbouring countries do they make 
as good a stuff." (Id., n.) 

Tyre was visited by Ibn Jubair in 1 185. He writes of it in his 
Diary in the following terms : 

"Tyre is a town that is like a fortress, and it belongs to the 
Franks. Its streets and roads are cleaner than those of 'Akka. 
Many Moslems live here, and they are unmolested by the Infidels. 
The town is smaller than 'Akka. The fortress is wonderfully built 
and impregnable. It has two gates only : one on the land side, one 
on the sea. The sea surrounds it on all sides save one. On the 
land side there are at the entrance of the city three gates, or 
may be four (one behind the other), each guarded by a high outer 
wall commanding the gate. The sea gate is entered between two 
high towers, and then you come into the port, than which there is 
none more wonderful among all the maritime cities. Surround- 
ing it on three sides lie the city walls, and on the fourth side it is 
closed in by a wall with an archway built cf mortared masonry, 
and the ships come in under this archway, and anchor inside. 
Between the two towers, before mentioned, they stretch a mighty 
chain which prevents aught going in or out, and the ships can 
only pass when it is lowered. At this gate are guards who keep 
watch and ward on all who enter and depart. This port of Tyre 
is most famous and beautiful. 'Akka has a port like it, but which 
does not afford anchorage to such large ships : and the port of 
Tyre is far the larger." (I. J., 308.) 

The same author continues : " At the Land Gate of Sur is a 
spring of bubbling water, to which you descend by steps. Wells 


and cisterns are numerous within the city, and there is hardly a 
house without one." (I. J., 314.) 

"Tyre," says Yakut, in 1225, ".is a celebrated city, and a 
frontier fortress of the Muslims. The city is surrounded on three 
sides by the sea, and there is land only on the fourth side where 
the roadway is defended by a fortified gate. It stands out in the 
sea, as the palm of the hand does from the wrist. The Muslims 
first took the city in the days of 'Omar, and it remained in their 
hands in perfect prosperity till the year 518 (1124), when the 
Franks came against the city and beleaguered and blockaded it, 
till it surrendered. The ruler of Egypt had tried to raise the 
siege, but the winds were contrary, and perforce he had to sail 
back to Egypt. Then they capitulated, and the Muslims all left 
the city, and none remained, except beggars, who could not move. 
The Franks have fortified Tyre and garrisoned it and rebuilt the 
town, and it remains in their hands even to the present day 
(1225). Tyre is counted as of the Jordan Province/' (Yak., 
iii. 433; Mar., ii. 171.) 

Abu-1 Fida adds nothing to the descriptions just given, except 
to note that " the city was reconquered by the Muslims in 690 
(1291), at the same time as Acre and other coast towns, and was 
then laid in ruins, as it remains down to the present day " (that 
is, 1321). (A. F., 243.) 

"Saladin," writes Dimashki, "did not gain possession of Tyre, 
for in his days it remained in the hands of the Christians, and 
was only retaken by Salah ad Din Khalil, and it was he who laid 
it in ruins. In the space of forty-seven days he retook from the 
Christians the fortresses of Athlith, Haifa, Iskandanlnah, Tyre, 
Sidon, Bairut, Jubail, Anafah, Al Bathrun, and Sarfand.'' (Dim., 


Tyre was visited by Ibn Batutah in 1355, who found it a 
mass of ruins. He writes : " It was formerly proverbial for its 
strength, being washed on three sides by the sea. Of the ancient 
walls and port traces remain, and of old there was a chain across 
the mouth of the port.'' (I. B., i. 130.) 



"A city," writes Ya'kubi in 891, "at the foot of the Lebanon 
mountains. The town is entirely peopled by Persians, who were 
brought here by the Khalif Mu'awiyah." (Yb., 114.) 

"Saida," writes Mukaddasi, "is a fortified city on the sea." 
(Muk., 160.) 

Sidon was visited by the Persian traveller Nasir-i-Khusrau, in 
1047. He writes in his Diary : 

" From Bairut we came on to the city of Saida, likewise on the 
seashore. They cultivate here much sugar-cane. The city has a 
well-built wall of stone, and four gates. There is a fine Friday 
Mosque, very agreeably situated, the whole interior of which is 
spread with matting in coloured designs. The bazaars are so 
splendidly adorned that when I first saw them I imagined the 
city to be decorated for the arrival of the Sultan, or in honour of 
some good news. When I inquired, however, they said it was 
customary for their city to be thus always beautifully adorned. 
The gardens and orchards of the town are such that one might 
say each was a pleasance laid out at the fancy of some king. 
Kiosks are set therein, and the greater number of the trees are of 
those kinds that bear edible fruits." (N. Kh., n.) 

"The town of Saida," reports Idrisi, "lies on the coast of the 
salt sea, and is surrounded by a wall of stone, that owes its origin 
to a certain woman of pagan times. Saida is a large city, where 
the markets are thronged and provisions are cheap. It is sur- 
rounded by gardens and trees, water is in plenty, and it has broad 
outlying districts. The city owns four districts (Iklim), which 
lie contiguous to the Lebanon Mountains. The first is the Iklim 
of Jazin, through which runs the Wadi al Hirr, which is noted for 
its fertility and the abundance of its fruits. The second is the 
Iklim as Surbah, which is a fine district. The third is the Iklim 
of Kafar Kila. The fourth is the Iklim ar Kami, which is the 
name of a river that flows through the hills. These four districts 
contain more than 6co domains. The people of Saida drink from 
water that is brought down from the mountains by an aqueduct. 
In the town is a celebrated spring, for during the spring months 

PRO VI NCI A L CAPITALS A ND CHI /; /' 7 'O 1 1 r N S. 347 

there grow certain small fish of about the length of a finger, and 
some of them are male and some of them are female, having 
organs to distinguish between the two. These fish are caught at 
the breeding time and dried. When they are to be used, you 
take one and scrape it and eat it dry, but should drink water after- 
wards, and it acts on a man as a strong aphrodisiac, so that he 
ran enjoy women as much as he will without suffering from 
exhaustion or debility. These fish are small and of the form of 
the Gecko lizard. They have fore and hind legs, but small, and 
partly hidden. I myself have seen them many times." (Id., 15.) 

"Saida," says Yakut, "is a city on the coast belonging to the 
Damascus Province. It lies 6 leagues east of Tyre. Saida is 
called after Saidun, son of Sanaka, son of Kan'an (Canaan), son 
of Nfih (Noah). It was during some years in the hands of the 
Franks. There are quantities of vegetables grown all round the 
town, and the Narcissus flowers everywhere. In the year 504 ( 1 1 1 o) 
Ma'dun (Baldwin?), who was the Lord of Jerusalem, went against 
Saida with a large army and conquered it, giving the people 
quarter, but harrassing them. It remained in the hands of the 
Christians till Saladin took it in the year 583 (1187). (Yak., iii. 
439; Mar., ii. 174.) 

Abu-1 Fida writes : " Saida, on the Damascus coast, stands on 
the seaside. It is a small town, but fortified. The road from 
Saida to Damascus is as follows : From Saida to Mashghara is 
24 miles. Mashghara is one of the pleasantest of the towns of 
these parts. It has splendid trees and streams, and stands on a 
Wadi. From Mashghara to Kamid (al Lauz), which in old times 
was the chief town of the district, is 6 miles. From Kamid to 
the domain called 'Ain al Jarr is 18 miles; and from 'Ain al 
Jarr to Damascus is also 18 miles. Total from Saida to Damascus 
66 miles." (A. F., 249.) 

Sidon was visited by Ibn Batutah in 1355. He speaks of it 
as a town full of fruit-trees, the exports being figs, raisins and 
olive oil which are carried to Egypt. (I. B., i. 132.) 



"A town," writes Ya'kubi in 891, "inhabited by Persians 
brought hither by the Khalif Mu'awiyah. The place has a fine 
harbour, capable of containing a thousand ships." (Yb., 114.) 

Writing in the year 869, Biladhuri says : " When 'Othman 
became Khalif, and Mu'awiyah was first made Governor of Syria, 
he despatched Sufyan ibn Mujib al Azdi against Atrabulus, which 
was at that time a city containing Three Towns united into one. 
Sufyan built a fort in a meadow a few miles distant, calling it 
Hisn Sufyan, thereby cutting off aid to the city from all sides, 
and the people could get no succour either by sea or by land. 
Then the people sent to the King of Rum (Constantinople), 
and he despatched ships, and they escaped to them by night ; 
and when Sufyan entered the city he found the place empty. 
Mu'awiyah colonized the place with Jews, and they are those who 
live at the harbour to this day. The Khalif 'Abd al Malik rebuilt 
and refortified Tarabulus." (Bil., 167.) 

According to Istakhri : " Tarabulus, or Atrabulus, in the 
Damascus Province, is a city of great plenty, with excellent crops 
and fruits, for the lands are wonderfully fertile. Living is cheap. 
It is the port of Damascus, and lies on its coast. The Damas- 
cenes are in garrison here, as also other men from other parts of 
the province, and they set out from here on their military expedi- 
tions. The people of Tripoli are not so rough and frivolous as 
are the Damascenes ; they are given to good works, and will 
listen to the exhortation of the preacher. The lands round are 
fertile, growing palms and sugar-canes." (Is., 61 ; I. H., 116.) 

" Tarabulus," says Mukaddasi, " is a fortified city on the sea. 
It is a finer town than either Saida or Bairut." (Muk., 160.) 

Tripoli was visited by Nasir-i-Khusrau in 1047. He writes in 
his Diary : 

" From Aleppo to Tarabulus is 40 leagues. The whole neigh- 
bourhood of the town is occupied by fields, and gardens, and 
trees. The sugar-cane grows here luxuriously, as likewise orange 
and citron trees, also the banana, the lemon, and the date. They 
were, at the time of our arrival, extracting the juice of the sugar- 


cane. The town of Tripoli is so situate that three sides thereof 
are on the sea, and when the waves beat, sea-water is thrown up 
on to the very city walls. The fourth side, which is towards the 
land, is protected by a mighty ditch, lying eastward of the wall, 
across which opens an iron gate, solidly built. The walls are all 
of hewn stone, and the battlements and embrasures are after the 
like work. Along the battlements are placed balistae (arradah), 
for their fear is of the Greeks, who are wont to attempt the place 
in their ships. The city measures 1,000 cubits long, by the like 
across. Its hostelries are four and five stories high, and there are 
even some that are of six. The private houses and bazaars are 
well built, and so clean that one might take each to be a palace 
for its splendour. Every kind of meat, and fruit, and eatable 
that ever I saw in all the land of Persia is to be had here, and a 
hundred degrees better in quality. In the midst of the town is 
the great Friday Mosque, well kept, and finely adorned, and 
solidly constructed. In the mosque court is a large dome, built 
over a marble tank, in the middle of which is set a brazen 
fountain. In the bazaar, too, they have made a watering-place, 
where, at five spouts, is abundant water for the people to take 
from ; and the overflow, going along the ground, runs into the 
sea. They say there are twenty thousand men in this city, and 
the place possesses many territories .and villages. They make 
here very good paper, like that of Samarkand, only of better 
quality. The city of Tripoli belongs to the (Fatimite) Sultan of 
Egypt. The origin, as I was told, of this is that when, a certain 
time ago, an army of the infidels from Byzantium had come 
against the city, the Muslims from Egypt came and did fight the 
infidels, and put them to flight. The Sultan of Egypt has 
remitted his right to the land-tax (kharaj] in the city. There is 
always a body of the Sultan's troops in garrison here, with a 
commander set over them, to keep the city safe from the enemy. 
The city, too, is a place of customs, where all ships that come 
from the coasts of the Greeks, and the Franks, and from 
Andalusia, and the Western lands (called Maghrib}, have to pay 
a tithe to the Sultan, which sums are employed for providing the 
rations of the garrison. The Sultan also has ships of his own 


here, which sail to Byzantium, and Sicily, and the West, to carry 
merchandise. The people of Tripoli are all of the Shi'ah sect. 
The Shi'ahs in all countries have built for themselves fine 
mosques. There are in this place houses like Ribats (which are 
caravanserais, or watch-stations), only that no one dwells therein 
on guard, and they call them Mash-hads (shrines, or places of 
martyrdom). There are no houses outside the city of Tripoli, 
except two or three of these Mash-hads." (N. Kh., 6.) 

"Atrabulus of Syria," according to the report of Idrisi, "is a 
great city, defended by a stone wall, and impregnable. It has 
villages, and territories, and fine domains ; and many trees such 
as olives, vines, sugar-cane, and fruit-trees of all kinds, and of all 
manner of crops a variety beyond count. Coming and going 
there is perpetual. The sea embraces the town on three sides, 
and it is one of the great fortresses of Syria. All sorts of wares 
are brought thither, and of stuffs and merchandise great quantities. 
To Atrabulus belong a number of forts and castles which are 
garrisoned from this place, and are in the jurisdiction, thereof. 
Of these are 'Anaf al Hajar, Hisn al Kalamun, Hisn Abu-1 'Adas, 
and Artusiyyah (Orthosia). Of chief domains there are four 
belonging to Tripoli that are very celebrated. These are the well- 
known villages of Ash Shafikah, Az Zaituniyyah, Ar Ra'ibiyyah, 
with Al Hadath and Amyun.* Belonging to the town are lands 
with olive-trees and gardens growing all sorts of fruits and crops 
in plenty. Lying 4 miles to the south of the town is a fort built 
by Ibn Sinjil (Count Raymond of St. Giles, in 1104), the Frank, 
from which he came and conquered Tripoli. This is an impreg- 
nable fortress on a height between two Wadis. 

" Opposite the city of Tripoli are four islands in a row. The 
first of them, and the nearest to the land, is the Narcissus Isle 
(An Narjis] ; it is very small, and is unoccupied. Then comes 
the Isle of the Column (Al 'Aumd\ then Monk's Isle (Ar Rahib\ 
and then the Isle of Ardhakun (or Udhakun)." (Id., 17.) 

On the margin of one of the MSS. of Idrisi is the following : 

" The inhabitants of Tripoli have already removed towards the 
mountain, and have built another city of the same name at a 
* The reading of these names is very doubtful. 


place which lies 4 miles from the sea. All that remains of the 
ancient city is the mosque, which is still used. It is called Jami' 
al 'Umari. I myself have stayed there some days when we were 
stationed for defence on the coast. The people fled from the old 
town on account of their fear of the enemy, who used to make 
incursions. The new town has no wall, except a short piece 
towards the sea. It was built by the Amir Manjak (the Governor of 
Tripoli) in the year 768(1 366),* during the reign of Sultan Sha'aban." 

Yakut adds nothing to the foregoing. (Yak., i. 307 ; iii. 523; 
Mar., i. 74 ; ii. 198.) 

Tripoli, which was taken by the Crusaders in 1104, was retaken 
by the Muslims under Sultan Kala'un in 1289. 

" Tarabulus," says Dimashki, " is the capital of the Province 
of that name. After Sultan Kala'un, at the head of the Muslim 
army, had retaken Tarabulus, a new city was built on a spur of 
the Lebanon Mountains about 5 miles distant from the old town 
of Tarabulus, which had been laid in ruins. The new town lies 
on the bank of a stream that falls into the sea, and stands partly 
on the mountain and partly in the plain, being both on the sea 
and near the open country. Water flows into the city from all 
sides, and there is an aqueduct on arches which brings the water 
from a valley in the mountains. This aqueduct carries the water 
at a height of near 70 ells, and is about 200 ells long. The river 
aforesaid flows underneath it, watering the lands, and thence flowing 
into the sea. There is hardly a house in the town that has not 
trees (in its court) in numbers, for the waters flow everywhere, 
coming down from the Lebanon Mountains. In the gardens of 
Tarabulus are all kinds of fruits, such as you find nowhere else. 
The sugar-cane, and the sycamore, and sage-plants in great 
quantities, also the colocassia (Kalkas). You get here sea-fish 
and birds of all varieties, such as you can get in no other single 
place." (Dim., 207.) 

The same author continues : " Belonging to the Tarabulus 

District are the following places : Al Bathrun (Botrys), a place 

conquered by Al Malik al Mansur (Kala'un). It has extensive 

lands. Anafah, a well-built town lying on the coast, and Antartus. 

* See G. Weil, Geschichte der Chalifen, iv. 522. 


Hisn 'Arka and Hisn Halba, both with broad lands, and both 
the chief towns of their respective districts. Jun and Rajaliyah, 
two fortresses dismantled in our own day. Also the town of 
Marakiyyah on the coast, an ancient city with extensive lands. 
Jumah 'Akkar, Jumah Bashariyyah, and Al Kurah. 

" Of the Tarabulus Districts also are : Al Bukai'ah, where there 
is a fortress, and An Na'im. Also the Nusairiyyah Mountains, 
among which lie about twenty districts, extending from Al 
Ladhikiyyah and Sahyun towards Al Bathrun. 

" The castles of the Assassins (Kilo? ad D&wiyah) belong to the 
districts of Tarabulus. These have been lately built by Rashid 
ad Din Muhammad, the disciple of 'Ala ad Din 'Ali, who holds 
the fort of Al Alamaut in Persia near Kaswin. He is the Chief of 
the Assassins, whose sect is celebrated for its impiety. They are 
called Ismailians also. Among their castles are Hisn al Khawabi ; 
Hisn al Kahf, where there is a cavern in which Rashid ad Din, it 
is said, once took refuge, and now lies buried ; or, as others say, has 
only disappeared, and will appear again according to the belief of 
his people. Hisn al Kadmus, where during the months of 
Tammuz and Ab numbers of serpents appear in a certain hot 
bath. Hisn al 'Ullaikah, Hisn al Mainakah, Hisn ar Rusafah lie 
on the spurs of the Taraz (Mountains) towards Damascus. Also 
Hisn Abi Kubais* and Thughr Masyaf. This last is the mother 
fortress of them all. The Assassins chosen are sent out thence to 
all countries and lands to slay kings and great men." (Dim., 208.) 

Abu-1 Fida adds nothing to the above in his description of 
Tripoli ; he gives the distance thence to Ba'albakk as 54 miles., 
to Damascus as 90 miles, and to Antartus (Tortosa) as 30 miles. 
(A. F, 253.) 

The new town of Tripoli was visited by Ibn Batutah in 1355. 
He describes it as : " Traversed by water-channels and full of 
gardens. The houses are newly built. The sea lies 2 leagues 
distant, and the ruins of the old town are seen on the sea-shore. 
It was taken by the Franks, but Al Malik ath Thahir retook it 
from them, and then laid the place in ruins and built the present 
town. There are fine baths here." (I. B., i. 137.) 
* Bokebeis, of the Crusading Chronicles. 



" Hims,'' writes Ya'kubi, in 8gi, "is one of the largest cities in 
Syria. It is situated on a broad river, the water of which the 
inhabitants drink. The city has many districts round it, among 
which is that called Al Bamah." (Yb., 1 1 1.) 

" Hims," writes Mas'udi, " is noted for the personal beauty of its 
inhabitants." (Mas ., i. 125.) "The Empress Helena built here a 
church on four piers (arkiin), which is one of the wonders of the 
world." (Mas., ii. 312.) 

" The streets of Hims were of old paved with flag-stones, and 
the same may be noted at the present day." (Bil., 134 ; also 
I. R, no.) 

" Of the wonders of Hims," says Ibn al Fakih, " is an image which 
stands over the gate of the Jami' Mosque, facing the church. 
This is of white stone, and the upper part of the image is in the 
form of a man, the lower being in the form of a scorpion. If a 
scorpion stings a man, let him take clay and press it on the 
image, and then dissolve the clay in water and drink it. It will 
still the pain, and immediately he will recover. They say this image 
is a talisman specially made against scorpions." (I. F., no.) 

" Hims," writes Istakhri, " is the capital of the province of the 
same name. The city lies in a fertile plain ; it enjoys an excellent 
climate, and its soil is one of the best in Syria. Its people are 
extremely handsome. There are neither scorpions nor snakes in 
Hims, and should one enter the place, it dies. Water, trees, and 
arable fields are seen everywhere, and most of the village lands are 
watered by the rains (not artificially irrigated). There is here a 
church, half of which is used as a Mosque, while the other half 
belongs to the Christians, and they have here their chapel and altar. 
This church of theirs is one of the largest in Syria. The Greeks 
have invaded this country during our own days (tenth century), 
and ruined many of its lands and villages. The desolation is 
gaining everywhere, since these incursions of the Infidels began, 
and though the people are seeking to return to their old homes, 
the Badawin Arabs eat up their crops, and plunder their land, time 
after time. Nearly all the streets and markets of Hims are 



flagged or paved with stones." (Is., 61 ; I. H, 117; copied in 
part by A. F., 261.) 

Mukaddasi, writing in 985, says of Emessa : 

"There is no larger city than this in all Syria. There is a 
citadel high above the town, which you perceive from afar off. 
Most of the drinking-water is obtained from the rainfall, but there 
is also a river. When the Muslims conquered this place they 
seized the church, and turned the half of it into a Mosque. In the 
market-place near by is a cupola, on the top of which is seen the 
figure of a man in brass, standing upon a fish, and the same is 
turned by the four winds. About this figure they relate many 
stories, but these are unworthy of credence. This town has 
suffered great misfortunes, and is indeed threatened with ruin, 
Its men are witless. The other towns of these parts are also 
falling to decay, though prices are moderate, and such of them as 
are on the coast are well provided with ramparts." (Muk., 156.) 

" There is at Hims a talisman it is the wind-vane, and it 
serves against scorpions. For whosoever takes clay and presses it 
thereon, by Allah's permission, will obtain a cure for their sting ; 
and the cure is effected by the impact of the figure on the vane, 
not by the clay alone." (Muk., 186.) 

In 1099 Hims was captured by the Crusaders. Idrisi reports 
in '1154: 

" Hims, the capital of the Province of the same name, is a fine 
town standing in a plain. It is populous, and much frequented 
by travellers who come there for its products and rarities of all 
kinds. Its markets are always open. The ways of the people are 
pleasant ; living with them is easy, and their manners are agree- 
able. The women are beautiful, and are celebrated for their fine 
skins. The drinking water is brought to the city by an aqueduct 
from a village near Jusiyyah, about a day's march from the city in 
the direction of Damascus. The river Urunt (Orontes), called 
also Al Maklub, flows by the gate (of Hims), and there are 
gardens one after another along it, belonging to the city, with 
trees and many water channels. They bring the fruit from these 
gardens into the town. Since the beginning of Islam this has 
been of all cities that which has produced most grapes ; but now 


these gardens are for the most part laid waste. The soil is 
excellent for the tilling and raising of crops ; and the climate is 
more equable than that of any other town of Syria. There is 
here (in Hims) a talisman which prevents the entrance of any 
serpent or scorpion, and should one enter through the gate of the 
city it immediately dies. For on the summit of a high dome 
which is in the middle of the city, is an idol of brass in the figure 
of a man, riding, and it turns with every wind that blows. In the 
wall of the Dome is a stone on which is the figure of a scorpion, 
and when a man is stung or bitten, he lays on this stone some 
clay, and then puts the clay on the bite, and immediately he 
becomes healed. All the streets and lanes of the city are paved 
with blocks of hard stone. The agriculture of the province is 
extremely productive, and the cultivated ground needs but very 
little rain or irrigation. There is a large Mosque here, it is one 
of the largest of all the cities of Syria." (Id., 18.) 

Hims was visited in 1185 by the traveller Ibn Jubair who notes 
in his diary that he stopped in the Khan as Sabil. He continues : 

" It is a fine city standing in a plain, but wanting in water 
and trees, shade and fruit ; and abounding in dust. Water is 
brought to it by a canal from the river 'Asi (the Orontes), which 
is about a mile distant. Along the river are gardens. The 
people of Hims are noted for their courage and perseverance in 
war. Those of Halab rank next to them in this quality. The 
air of Hims is moist, and the breeze pleasant. On the south of 
the town is a strong castle. On the east of the town is a cemetery 
in which is the tomb of (the Arab General) Khalid ibn Al Walid, 
and that of his son, 'Abd ar Rahman ; also the tomb of 'Ubaid 
Allah, the son of the Khalif 'Omar. The walls of Hims are very 
ancient and strong, being built of well laid blocks of black stone. 
The city gates are of iron, of great height, and above each of them 
is a high tower. There are many fine markets here. Not far 
distant is Hisn al Akrad (the Castle of the Kurds),* which is a 
strong place, but belonging to the enemy. There is no Maristan 
(or hospital) in Hims, and only one Madrasah (or college).' 

<! J-, 259.) 

* See Part II. 



Yakut (in 1225) speaks of Hims as "a large and celebrated 
town. It is walled, and on the south is a strongly fortified castle 
standing on a high hill. Hims lies half way between Damascus 
and Haldb. The tombs of Khalid ibn Al Walid and of other Com- 
panions of the Prophet are here. To the west of the road from 
Hamah, near Hims, is the Urunt (Orontes river). Hims was 
built by the ancient Greeks, and the Olives of Palestine were 
of their rearing.* Hims was conquered by Khalid shortly after 
Abu 'Ubaidah ibn Al Jarrah had taken Damascus. It capitulated 
and was ransomed for 71,000 Dinars (.35,500; Ibn al Fakih, 
p. no, gives the figure at 170,000 Dinars, or 85,000). Half 
the Church of Yuhanna (St. John) was turned into a mosque. 
Of the wonders of Hims is a figure over the gate of its Mosque 
beside the church. On a white stone above is the figure of a 
man, and below the figure of a scorpion. Anyone who takes 
clay of the ground near and presses it on this figure, obtains a 
sure antidote against scorpion stings, for if he drink some water 
in which this clay is mixed he will be immediately cured of the 
sting. At Hims is the Mash-had (Oratory of the Khalif) 'Ali ibn 
Abu Talib, and there is a column on which is seen the mark of his 
fingers, and certain persons have seen him here in sleep. There 
is also here the house of Khalid ibn al Walid, and his tomb 
therein, although of a truth he died and was buried at Al 
Madinah. Near his tomb is that of Tyad ibn Ghanam. Some, 
however, say Khalid died at a village about a mile from Hims. 
Others say the so-called tomb of Khalid is that of Khalid ibn 
Yazid ibn Mu'awiyah who built the Kasr (or Palace) at Hims, the 
remains of w r hich are still to be seen on the west of the high-road." 
(Yak., ii. 334~33 6 ; Mar., i. 320.) 

" Hims," says Dimashki, " is the capital of the province of 
that name, and is an ancient city ; of old it was called Suriya. 
Its climate is most salubrious. No scorpions can live here, for 
there is a talisman against them. This consists in a Dome, built 
without any door. You take a certain clay from one of the. hills 
of Hims, and rub it on the walls of this Dome, and then leave it 
till it dries. This clay is exported to all countries. And when a 

* The fact is also stated. by Ibn al Fakih, in 903 (I. F., no). 


piece of it is thrown on a scorpion, it kills him. Under all the 
houses of Hiins are one or two caverns, where there are springs of 
drinking water. It is thus a city over a city. Its people are 
remarkable for their small wit." (Dim., 202.) 

" Hims," writes Ahu-1 Fida, " has gardens that are watered by 
the Nahr al 'Asi (Orontes). Muhallabi speaks of Hims as the 
capital of the Jund (province), and as being one of the healthiest 
places in Syria. About a mile outside Hims runs the Nahr al 
Maklub (the Orontes). They have beautiful gardens and vine- 
yards. It is said that when clothes are washed in the Hims water 
no snake or scorpion will harm the wearer until they have been 
washed in other water again. The people of Hims are cele- 
brated for the beauty of their skin." (A. F., 261.) 

Hims was visited by Ibn Batutah in 1355. He speaks of the 
fine trees and good markets here, noting that outside the town he 
saw the tomb of Khalid, surnamed the Sword of God. " There 
is a beautiful Jami' Mosque with a tank in its midst. The people 
are Arab in race, excellent and noble." (I. 11, i. 141.) 


"An ancient city on a river called Al Urunt (the Orontes)." 
(Yb, no.) 

" Hamah in the Hims Province," write Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, 
"is a small town, but very pleasant to live in, having plenty of 
water, and trees, and fields, and fruits." (Is., 61 ; I. H., 116.) 

Nasir-i-Khusrau, in 1047, writes in his Diary : 

" The city of Hama is well populated ; it stands on the bank of 
the river 'Asi (Orontes). This stream is called the 'Asi (meaning 
' the Rebel '), for the reason that it flows towards the Greek terri- 
tory ; that is to say, it is a Rebel to go from the lands of Islam to 
the lands of the Infidel. They have set up numerous water- 
wheels on its banks.'' (N. Kh., 5.) 

The traveller Ibn Jubair spent some days in Hamah during the 
year 1185, and has given a long and rather verbose description 
of the town in his Diary. Of this the following is a somewhat 
condensed translation : 

" Hamah is a very celebrated, ancient, populous and fruitful 
city. To the east thereof a great river (the Orontes) runs broadly 


along its bed, and on it are water-wheels (dulab) in great numbers 
for irrigating the fields. On the river bank, in the suburb, are 
well fitted latrines, with a number of cells through which 
water flows coming from the water-wheel. On the other bank of 
the river, near the lower town is a small Jami' Mosque, the 
eastern wall of which is pierced (with windows), and above are 
arcades through which you get a magnificent view. Opposite the 
passage of the river, and in the heart of the town is the Castle- 
hill. In the Castle they have their water from the river by a 
channel which comes up there, so that there is no fear ever of 
thirst. The situation of the city is as though it lay above a low 
valley with broad extended lands, from which you go up on both 
sides as from a deep ditch to the city itself, which is perched on 
the slope of the hillside. Both the upper and lower town are 
small. But the city walls are high and go right round, enclosing 
the upper shoulder of the hill. The lower city is surrounded by 
walls on its three sides, the fourth being defended by the river. 
Over the river is a great bridge built of solid blocks of stone. 
This goes from the lower town to the suburb. The suburb is 
large, with many Khans, and there are the shops of all manner of 
artificers and merchants, where travellers may find all they require, 
and so do not need to enter the town. The markets of the 
upper town are more numerous and richer than those of the 
lower, and they are places of gathering for all manner of mer- 
chants and artificers. The upper town has a Jami' Mosque, 
larger than the Jami' of the lower town, also three Madrasahs 
(colleges). There is a Maristan (or hospital) on the river .bank, 
opposite the Jami' as Saghir (the Small Mosque). Outside the 
city are gardens with trees and places of pleasant resort, on either 
side the river bank. The river is called Al 'Asi, 'the Rebel,' 
because apparently it runs from below upwards, its course being 
from south to north. To the south of Hamah it passes Hims, 
and in this southerly direction lies the cemetery of Hamah. On 
leaving Hamah (on the way to Hims), after half a stage, we 
crossed the river Al 'Asi (Orontes) by a great bridge of stone 
arches, across which lies the town of Rastan." (I. J., 257, 258.) 
Yakut, and the author of the epitome called the Marasid, 


describe Hamah in the thirteenth century as a large town of 
the Hims Province, surrounded by a wall, very strongly built. 
" Outside this wall is a most extensive suburb, in which are great 
markets, and a Mosque that stands above the river Al 'Asi. This 
suburb, too, has a wall round it, and it extends along the bank of 
the river Al 'Asi, where are Na'urahs (water-wheels), which water 
the gardens and fill the tank of the Jami' Mosque. This suburb 
they call As Suk al Asfal (or the Lower Market), for it stands 
lower than the town, and the walled town above is called As Suk 
al A 'la (or the Upper Market). In this suburb also are many 
Madrasahs (colleges), which stand on the south bank of the 'Asi. 
Beside the city stands an ancient castle wondrously fortified and 
constructed. Al Malik al Mansur Muhammad ibn Taka ad Din 
'Amr ibn Shahinshah ibn Ayyub dug a ditch here of 100 ells and 
more in length. This castle is part of the ancient town of the 
(pre-Islamic) Days of Ignorance, mentioned by the poet Imr al 
Kais in his verses. In the year 271 (884) Ahmad ibn at Tayyib 
describes this (castle) from eye-witness as a village with a stone 
wall in which were large stone buildings, with the 'Asi flowing in 
front of them, watering the gardens and turning the water-wheels, 
but it is to be noted that he calls it a Tillage. Beside the Lower 
Market also is a castle called Al Mansuriyyah. It stands rather 
above the suburb, and to the left. In this Lower Market are 
many shops and houses for merchants and bazaars." (Yak., ii. 
330; Mar., i. 318.) 

" Kurun Hamah (the Horns of Hamah) are two peaks standing 
opposite each other. They are the summits of a hill overhanging 
Hamah." (Yak., ii. 332.) 

" Hamah," says Dimashki, in 1300, " is a provincial chief town, 
and seat of Government. A fine city, and well fortified, and with 
excellent provisions. The Nahr 'Asi flows between the two halves 
of the town, and the two are connected by a bridge. Along the 
'Asi banks are huge water-wheels called Na'urah, such as you see 
nowhere else ; they raise the water from the river to irrigate the 
gardens. The place has many fruits, especially the apricot 
(Mishmish) called Kaftiri Lauzi (camphorated with almond 
flavour), which you will see nowhere else." (Dim., 206.) 


" Hamah," says Abu-1 Fida, " stands between the Hims and the 
Kinnasrin provinces. It is a very ancient city, and one men- 
tioned in the books of the Israelites. It is one of the pleasantest 
places in Syria. The greater part of the town to the east and 
north is surrounded by the river 'Asi. There is a very high-built 
castle, well fortified. Within the town are mills turned by water, 
and all its gardens are watered by w r ater-wheels (Na'urah), and the 
water runs through most of the houses. Hamah and Shaisar are 
noted above all other towns of Syria for the number of their water- 
wheels." (A. F., 263.) 

Ibu Batutah passed through Hamah in 1355. After remarking 
that the river Al 'Asi (Orontes), which runs through the city, 
makes it a pleasant town to live in, with its many gardens full of 
trees and fruits, he speaks of the large suburb called Al Mansuriyyah, 
with its fine market, and Mosque, and baths. " In Hamah are 
many fruits of excellent qualities, among others the almond- 
apricot. Its kernel, when broken, contains an almond. The 
water-wheels here are celebrated." (I. B., i. 141.) 


" Halab is the capital of the Kinnasrin district," say Istakhri and 
Ibn Haukal, writing in the latter half of the tenth century, A.D. 
" It was very populous, and the people were possessed of much 
wealth, and commerce throve, for the city lies on the high road 
between 'Irak and the Fortresses, and the rest of Syria. But the 
Greeks took the city (under the Emperor Nicephorus),* and its 
stone wall was of no avail to it. They ruined the Mosque, and 
took away captive all its women and children, and burnt the 
houses. Halab had a castle, but it was not a strong place, and 
was in no way well built. All the population had fled up to it, 
thinking to take refuge therein (from the Greeks), and here most 
of them perished with all their goods and chattels. The 
remainder, both of the citizens and of the refugees from the 
country round, were all taken prisoners. The people of the 
district were all put to the sword. This is a sad matter to 

* In A.D. 961. The Byzantines held Aleppo for a very short time, and 
were unable to reduce the citadel. 


hear of, and great was the distress throughout Islam and among 
the Muslims. The city had originally five markets,' and baths, and 
hostels, and quarters and broad squares. But Halab is now like 
a prisoner (being in the hands of the Infidels). 

"The river of Halab is called Abu 1 Hasan, or Kuwaik (the 
river Chalus). The drinking water of the population comes from 
this, and there is but little sediment in it. The prices here are 
still cheap, for in old days its prosperity was great, and its food 
stuffs abundant. But now every year the Greeks take from them 
tribute, and they tax all the lands and farms. The people of 
Halab have made a truce with the Greeks ; but their goods are 
not a twentieth of what they were." (Is., 61 ; I. H., 117.) 

"Halab," writes Mukaddasi in 985, "is an excellent, pleasant, 
and well fortified city, the inhabitants of which are cultured and 
rich, and endowed with understanding. The city is populous, 
and built of stone, standing in the midst of its lands. It possesses 
a well fortified and spacious castle, provided with water, and here 
is the Sultan's treasury. The great Mosque stands in the town. 
The inhabitants drink the water of the Kuwaik river, which flows 
into the town through an iron grating, near by the palace of 
Saif-ad-Daulah. The castle is not very large, but herein the 
Sultan has his abode. The city has seven gates, namely : Bab 
Hims (Emessa Gate), Bab-ar-Rakkah, Bab Kinnasrin, Bab-al-Yahud 
(Gate of the Jews), Bab-al-'Irak, Bab Dar-al-Batikh (Gate of the 
Watermelon House), and Bab Antakiyyah (Gate of Antioch). 
The Bab-al-Arba'in (Gate of the Forty) is now closed." (Muk., 


The seven gates mentioned by Mukaddasi, may be identified as 
follows : i. The Emessa Gate to the south, is marked as 
" Damascus Gate " in the plan given by Russell in his " Natural 
History of Aleppo," 2nd ed., 1794. It is at the present day 
called Bab al Makam (Ibrahim), the Gate of Abraham's Station. 
2. Judging from the direction which Rakkah bears from Aleppo 
the Rakkah Gate must be the " Bab el Hadeed " of Russell, at the 
north-east angle of the Wall. 3. The Kinnasrin Gate is at the 
southern end of the West Wall. It was built by Saif ad Daulah 
ibn Hamdan. 4. Bab al Yahud, the Jews' Gate, is the present 


Bab an Nasr, in the middle of the north wall, along which lies the 
Jews' Quarter. It was restored by Saladin's son, Al 'Malik adh 
Dhahir, who changed its name to Bab an Nasr Gate of Victory. 
(See below, p. 366.) 5. The 'Irak Gate, from its name, is most 
probably that to the south-east, marked by Russell as " the Gate 
of Neereb." In the present plans of Aleppo, a road leaving the 
town at the south-east angle runs to the village of " Nerab." 
6. The Watermelon House Gate is probably the same as the Bab 
al Janan, or, Gate of the Gardens, given by Russell, and also 
mentioned by Yakftt and others under this name. It is in the 
West Wall, a little to the north of the Antioch Gate. 7. The 
Antioch Gate is so called at the present day. It opens about 
the middle of the West Wall, to the north of the Bab Kinnasrin, 
and between it and the Gate of the Gardens. The Gate of the 
Forty is marked in Russell's plan as " Bab el Urbain." It is at 
the north-west angle of the suburb which lies to the north of 
Aleppo, beyond the Bab an Nasr. 

The traveller Nasir-i-Khusrau, who visited Aleppo in 1047, 
writes in his Diary : 

" Halab is in appearance a fine city. It has great walls, whose 
height I estimate at 25 cubits (or 50 feet) ; also a strong castle, 
entirely built on the rock, which I consider to be as large as the 
castle at Balkh. All the houses and buildings of Aleppo stand 
close one beside the other. This city is the place where they levy 
the customs (on merchandise passing) between the lands of Syria 
and Asia Minor, and Diyar-Bakr, and Egypt, and 'Irak, and there 
come merchants and traders from out all these lands to Aleppo. 
The city has four gates namely, Bab al Yahud (the Jews' Gate), 
Bab Allah (the Gate of Allah), Bab al Jinan (the Gate of Paradise), 
and Bab Antakiyah (the Gate of Antioch). The weight used in 
the bazaars of this place is the Dhahiri Ratl, which contains 
480 Dirhams weight (or about 3^ lb.)." (N. Kh., 2.) 

The Christian physician Ibn Butlan (see above, p. 6) has 
left a description of Aleppo, written about the year 1051 A.D. 
This is transcribed by Yakut (Yak., ii. 306-308) in his article on 
this city ; and he quotes it from the Risalah (or Epistle) written 
by Ibn Butlan to his friend Halal ibn Muhsin. The country at 


this time was ruled by the dynasty of the Bani Mirdas. Ibn 
Butlan writes : 

" We went from Ar Rusafah to Halab in four days. Halab is 
a town walled with white stones. There are six gates ; and 
besides the wall is a castle (to defend it), in the upper part of 
which is a mosque and two churches. In one of these was the 
altar on which Abraham used to sacrifice. In the lower part of 
the castle is a cave where he concealed his flocks. When he 
milked these, the people used to come for their milk, crying, 
1 Halaba ya laT Milked yet, or not? asking thus one of the 
other ; and hence the city came to be called Halab (milked). 

" In the town is a mosque and six churches, also a small 
Bimaristan (or hospital). The Jurisprudists are of the sect of the 
Imamites. The population drink from the water of cisterns that 
are filled by the rains. At the city gate is a river called Kuwaik, 
which rises in winter, but falls very low in summer. In the centre 
of the town is a high palace, which belonged to the mistress of 
Al Buhturi (the poet). Halab is a town that has but little of 
fruit, vegetables, or wine, except what is brought thither from the 
Greek country. Of the wonders of Halab we may mention that 
in the Kaisariyyah (or bazaar) of the cloth-merchants are twenty 
shops for the Wakils (or brokers). These men every day sell 
goods to the amount of 20,000 Dinars (^ 10,000), and this they 
have done for the last twenty years. No part of Halab is at all 
in ruins. From Halab we went on to Antakiyyah, which is a day 
and a night's journey distant." 

"Halab," as Idrisi reports, "is the capital of the Province of 
Kinnasrin. It is a large town, and very populous, lying on the 
high road to 'Irak, and Fars and Khurasan. It has walls of 
white stone. The river Kuwaik flows at its gate, which is a 
small stream with but little water. Water is led therefrom by 
means of underground channels going into the town, and is dis- 
tributed through the markets, streets, and houses. The people 
of the town drink of this, and make use of it for all purposes. 
In the Castle of Halab is a spring of excellent water." 
(Id, 25.) 

The traveller Ibn Jubair visited Aleppo in 1185. The follow- 


ing is an abridged translation of the account given in his 
Diary : 

" Halab lies a night's journey from Al Bab and Buza'ah. It 
is a place of saintly remains, with a celebrated and impregnable 
castle. It was the city of the Hamdanide Princes, whose dynasty 
is now passed away. Saif ad Daulah made it as a bride for beauty 
of appearance. The castle stands on the hill, whither, in ancient 
times, Abraham was wont to retire at night with his flocks there 
to milk them (halaba) giving away of the milk in alms. Hence, 
as it is said, is the name of Halab. There is a Mash-had (or 
oratory) there, much visited by the people. A copious spring of 
water rises in the castle, and they have made two cisterns here to 
store the water. Round these tanks are double walls. On the 
city-side of the castle is a deep ditch, into which the surplus water 
runs. The castle has high walls and towers, and the Sultan's 
habitation is here. In the town are fine and wide markets, 
covered in by wooden roofs. Shady streets, with rows of shops, 
lead up to each of the gates of the Jami' Mosque. Very fine is 
this mosque, and beautifully paved is its court. There are fifty 
and odd doors opening therein. In the court of the mosque are 
two wells. The wood-work of Halab is of excellent renown. Ihe 
Mihrab (or prayer-niche) of the mosque is very beautiful, with 
wood-work up to the roof, ornamentally carved, and inlaid with 
rare woods, and ivory, and ebony. The Mimbar (or pulpit) is 
also most exquisite to behold. On the western side of the mosque 
is the Madrasah (or college) of the Hanafites, with a fine garden. 
In the city are four or five other Madrasahs like to this one, also 
a Maristan (or hospital) Suburbs lie all round the city, with 
numberless Khans and gardens. A small river runs out of the 
city towards the south (called the Kuwaik)." (I. J., 252.) 

"Halab,'' says Yakut, "is the capital of the Kinnasrin Province. 
It has an excellent climate, and is full of good things. It is said 
to be called Halab, because Abraham, when he abode here, used 
to milk (halaba} his flocks at Halab. Another account is that 
Halab, Hims, and Bardha'ah, were three sisters of the Bani 
'Amalik (Amalakites), and that each of them founded a city, 
which was called after her name." (Yak., ii. 304; Mar., i. 313.) 


"Barawwa (Bercea) was the ancient name of Halab in Syrian, 
and the city was built by Batalimyus ibn Laghus (Ptolemy Lagus)." 
(Yak., i. 465; ii. 305 ; Mar., i. 118.) 

" A surname of Aleppo is A I Baida, ' the White,' because of 
the whiteness of the ground in its neighbourhood." (Yak., i. 792 ; 
Mar., i. 190.) 

Yakut next proceeds to give Ibn Butlan's description of Aleppo, 
translated above, and continues : 

" In the Castle of Halab is the Makam Ibrahim (Station of 
Abraham), the Friend. Here there is a chest, in which is a piece 
of the beard of Yahya ibn Zakariyya (John the Baptist) peace 
be on him ! which was discovered in the year 435 (1044). Near 
the Bab al Janan (the Gate of the Gardens) is the Mash-had (or 
oratory of the Khalif) 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, where he was seen by a 
person in a dream. Within the Bab al 'Irak is the mosque called 
Ghauth (of Succour), in which is a stone, whereon may be seen 
an inscription, said to be in the handwriting of the Khalif 'Ali. 
Many other celebrated mosques and sanctuaries are here to be 
seen. To the south of the (castle) hill is the one Cemetery of 
Aleppo, and near it the Makam, which is called the Makam 
Ibrahim (the Station of Abraham). Outside the Bab al Yahud 
(the Jews' Gate, to the north) is a stone near the road-side, where 
vows are put up to Allah, and over it they are wont to pour rose- 
water and perfumes. Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike make 
visitation to this spot ; for it is said that under it is the grave of 
one of the prophets. Verily I (Yakut) have visited Halab, and 
it was of the best of all lands for agriculture. They cultivate 
here cotton, sesame (Samsani), water-melons, cucumbers, millet 
(Dukhti], vines, maize (Durrali), also apricots, figs, and apples. 
They have only the rains to water their lands, and yet they raise 
abundant crops, and of such richness as I have not seen in other 
lands." (Yak., ii. 308.) 

The same author continues : 

" The castle of Halab is a wonder to behold, and has become 
proverbial for strength and beauty (i3th century). Halab lies in 
a flat country. In the centre of the city rises a perfectly circular 
and high hill, which has been scarped artificially, and the castle 


is built on its summit. It has a deep ditch, which has been dug 
sufficiently deep to reach the water springs. Inside the castle is 
a reservoir which is filled with pure water. Also within the 
castle is a Jami' Mosque, and a Maidan (or race-course), and 
gardens of considerable extent. Al Malik adh Dhahir Ghazi, the 
son of Saladin, it was who rebuilt this city, and dug the ditch. 

" Halab has seven gates at the present day : Bab Arba'in (Gate 
of the Forty) ; Bab al Yahud (Gate of the Jews), which was 
restored by Al Malik adh Dhahir, and renamed Bab an Nasr 
(Gate of Victory) ; Bab al Janan (the Gate of the Gardens) ; 
Bab Antakiyyah ; Bab Kinnasrin ; Bab al 'Irak ; and Bab as Sirr 
(the Secret Postern Gate)." (Yak., ii. 310.) 

" Halab," writes Dimashki about the year 1300, " is a city that 
has been laid in ruins by the Tartars. It has a strong fortress 
called Ash Shahba (the Gray, or Gray-white), on account of the 
white colour of the stone used. Of old, Halab was the equal 
in size of Baghdad or Al Mausil, and its people prided themselves 
on their fine raiment and personal comeliness and horses and 
houses. The river Kuwaik runs by it." (Dim., 202.) 

Abu-1 Fida about the same period remarks : 

" Halab in the Kinnasrin province is a large and very ancient 
city, with a high-built and strong castle. There is to be seen here 
Abraham's Station. Halab has few gardens, though the Kuwaik 
river runs by the town. It lies on the road from 'Irak to the 
Frontier Fortresses. From Halab to Kinnasrin is 12 miles. 
Muhallabi describes Halab as a fine city, with stone walls, well- 
built and populous, with an impregnable castle it its centre. 
Halab lies 36 miles from Ma'arrah and 15 leagues from Balis." 
(A. F., 267.) 

Aleppo was visited by Ibn Batutah in 1355. He speaks of it 
as a large and magnificent city, and quotes Ibn Jubair's descrip- 
tion. " Its castle is called Ash Shahba (the Gray), and within it 
are two wells with springs of fresh water. Round the castle are 
double walls and towers and a ditch. The Mash-had there is 
called the Oratory of Abraham. It is also called halab Ibrahim, 
that is to say, the Fresh Milk of Abraham, for he lived here and 
gave the milk of his cattle to the poor. The Kaisariyyah (or 


Bazaar) of Halab is very fine and unique for beauty. It goes all 
round the Mosque, and the streets of shops (in the Bazaar) lead 
up each to one of the Mosque gates. This Jami' Mosque is 
one of the finest in the world. In its court is a tank of water, and 
all round is a fine colonnade. . The Mosque pulpit is a marvel of 
ivory and ebony. There are in Aleppo a Maristan (hospital) and 
many colleges. Outside the city is a vast plain, where fruit-trees 
and vines are cultivated. There are also gardens on the banks 
of the 'Asi (Orontes, a mistake for the Kuwaik), which flows by 
here, passing Halab." (I. B., i. 146-151.) 


'Hie earlier Arab writers give the following curious notices of 
this city and its neighbourhood. 

Biladhuri in 869 relates : 

""The road between Antakiyyah and Al Massissah (Mopsuestia) 
was of old infested with wild beasts, and people met lions here. 
In the Khalif al Walid's days they complained much of this, and 
he sent there 4,000 buffaloes bulls and cows and these Allah 
caused to suffice for the purpose (of satisfying the wild beasts). 
Others were sent later also, but these are the first buffaloes that 
came into Syria." (Bil., 167 ; also I. F., 113.) 

The historian Mas'udi, who wrote, in 943, his voluminous work 
entitled " The Meadows of Gold," notices on several occasions the 
remarkable buildings of Antioch, and the natural peculiarities of 
the country. 

" It is not denied (he says) by men of knowledge that there 
are in certajn regions of the earth, towns and villages which no 
scorpions or serpents can enter. Such are Hims, Ma'arrah, Misr 
(Cairo), and Antakiyyah." (Mas, ii. 406.) 

" The month of the latter Kanun (January) has thirty-one days. 
On the first of the month is the day of the Kalandas (Kalends) 
which is a feast-day among the Syrians. At Antakiyyah on the 
eve they make illuminations and exhibit the Eucharist (Idsima}. 
This takes place generally in the Church of Al Kusiyan, which is 
one of the most venerated churches of that city. The Christians 


of Antakiyyab, both of great and of low degree, take part in these 
rejoicings and diversions, and in the lighting of illuminations ; for 
in this city of Antakiyyah is their Patriarch, and the day is held 
in much honour among them. The- Christians call Antioch the 
City of God, also the City of the King, and the Mother of Cities, 
for Christianity was first shown forth here." (Mas , ii. 406.) 

"There is at Antakiyyah the Church of Paul, which is known 
also by the name of Dair al Baraghith (the Convent of Bugs) ; it 
stands adjoining the city gate called Bab al Faris (the Knight's 
Gate). There is also here another church, which they call 
Ashmunit, where the Christians keep a festival, held high in 
honour among them, and this Church was originally in the hands 
of the Jews. There are also here the Kanisah Barbara (Church 
of Barbara), and the Kanisah Maryam (of Mary), which last is a 
round church, and one of the wonders of the world for the beauty 
of its construction and its height. The Khalif Al Walid, son of 
'Abd al Malik carried off from this church a number of marble 
and alabaster columns, of wondrous size, to place in the Mosque 
at Damascus. They were transported by water down to the coast 
near to Damascus. The greater number of the columns, however, 
still remain in the Church at Antioch, as may be seen at the 
present day." (Mas., ii. 407.) 

"There is at Antakiyyah a building called Ad Dirnas (the 
Crypt). It stands on the right-hand side of the Great Mosque, 
and is built of huge blocks of stone, as though of 'Adite (Cyclo- 
peian) days, and it is wonderful to see. On certain of the nights 
of summer, the moon's (beams) as she rises each night, shine in 
through a different window. It is said that this Ad Dimas is a 
Persian building of the time when the Persians (under Sapor, in 
A.D. 260) held Antakiyyah, and that it was built to be their Fire 
Temple." (Mas., iv. 91.) 

" At Antakiyyah, on a hill within the city walls, is an ancient 
temple of the Greeks. At this place the Muslims have con- 
structed a watch-tower from whence guards, continually posted 
here, can spy out any who come by sea or by land from the Greek 
country. This temple of old the Greeks held in great veneration, 
and made their sacrifices therein. It was ruined by Constantine 


tlu- (Ireat, the son of Helena, who propagated the Christian 
religion. The place was at that time filled with idols and statues 
of gold and jewels of all kinds. Others affirm that the temple in 
question stood in the city of Antakiyyah to the right of the present 
Jami' Mosque. This was a great temple also, and the Sabaeans 
report it to have been built by Saklabiyfts. At the present day, 
in the year 332 A.H., there is at this place the Suk (or market) of 
the armourers and lance-makers. Thabit ibn Kurrah ibn Karani, 
the Sabaean of Harran, who went to (the Khalif) Al Mu'tadhid in 
the year 289 (902), visited this temple and showed great venera- 
tion for the same, and what we have said above comes from him.'' 
(Mas., iv. 55.) 

The geographers Istakhri and Ibn Haukal give the following 
account of Antioch during the tenth century. It will be remem- 
bered that the city had come into the hands of the Muslims at the 
time of the first Arab Conquest of Syria in 635 ; in 964 the army 
of the Emperor Nicephorus Phocas reconquered Antioch, and it 
remained in the power of the Byzantines for the next hundred 
and twenty years. Istakhri (951) wrote immediately before the 
re-entry of the Greeks ; Ibn Haukal (978), his continuator, shortly 
after. Their account is the following : 

"Antakiyyah is the capital of the 'Awasim Province. After 
Damascus it is the pleasantest place in Syria. At this present 
time it has stone walls, which go round the city and enclose the 
mountain (Silphius), that overhangs it. Within this wall are 
fields and gardens, and mills and pasture-lands, and trees, and all 
manner of pleasure-places, of which the people are very proud. 
They say that the circumference of the walls is a day's journey. 
There is running water in all the markets, the streets, and the 
houses ; and also in the Jami' Mosque. The town possesses 
villages and farms, with many beautiful and fertile districts. But 
the enemy (the Greeks) have taken possession of them all. In 
point of fact some decrease of prosperity had already taken place 
during the last days of the Muslims, but the ruin has increased 
since the place came into the hands of the Greeks, who took it 
in the year (A.H.) 359. The Rock (as Sakhrati) which is in 
Antakiyyah, is known as the Rock of Moses, and they relate that 



Moses met Al Khidr (St. Elias) in this place." (Is., 62 ; I. H., 
119, for the most part copied by A. F., 233, 257.) 

The Rock of Moses, according to other authorities, was shown 
at Sharwan in Armenia. (Yak., iii. 282.) It may be noted that 
the year given as the date of the reconquest of Antioch by the 
Byzantines, namely, 359, corresponding with 970 A.D., does not 
agree exactly with the Western account as quoted in Gibbon's 
Decline and Fall (chap. LI I., end), where the event is set down 
to the year 964 (A.H. 353). 

Our next account of Antioch is from the pen of the physician 
Ibn Butlan, a Christian Arab, who visited the city in 1051, and 
wrote a description of it in an epistle addressed to a friend at 
Baghdad. This epistle is quoted by Yakut, of which the follow- 
ing is a translation. 

"Says Ibn Butlan, in the epistle he wrote to Abu-1 Husain Hilal 
ibn al Muhsin as Sabi, at Baghdad, in the year 440 and odd : 

" We left Halab (Aleppo) intent on journeying to Antakiyyah 
(Antioch), and the distance is a day and a night's march ; and we 
found all the country between Halab and Antakiyyah populous, 
nowhere ruined abodes of any description. On the contrary, the 
soil was everywhere sown with wheat and barley, which grew 
under the olive-trees ; the villages ran continuous, their gardens 
full of flowers, and the waters flowing on every hand, so that the 
traveller makes his journey here in contentment of mind, and 
peace and quietness. 

" Antakiyyah is an immense city. It possesses a wall and an 
outer wall (fast/}. The wall has three hundred and sixty towers, 
and these are patrolled in turn by four thousand guards, who are 
sent to Antakiyyah every year, from the presence of the king in 
Constantinople, as warrant for the safe-keeping of the city, and in 
the second year they are changed. The plan of the city is that of 
a semicircle ; its diameter lying along the mountain (Silphius), 
and the city wall climbs up over the mountain to its very summit ; 
and further, the wall completes the semicircle (in the plain below). 
On the summit of the mountain, but within the wall, is a Castle 
(Kala'ali), which appears quite small from the city below, on 
account of its distance up; and this mountain shades the city 


from the sun* which only begins to shine over the town about the 
second hour of the day. In the wall surrounding (the city) and 
in the part not on the mountain, are five gates. 

" In the centre of the city is the church of Al Kusiyan. It was 
originally the palace of Kusiyan, the king, whose son, Futrus (St. 
Peter), chief of the disciples, raised to life.t It consists of a 
chapel (ffaikti/), the length of which is 100 paces, and the 
breadth of it cSo, and over it is a church (Kanisa/i), supported on 
columns, in which the judges take their seat to give judgment, 
also those sit here who teach Grammar and Logic. At one of the 
gates of this church is a Clepsydra (Finjan), showing the hours. 
It works day and night continuously, twelve hours at a round, and 
it is one of the wonders of the world. 

" In the upper portion (of the city) are five terraces, and on the 
fifth of these are the baths, and gardens, where beautiful points of 
view are obtained. You may hear in this spot the murmuring of 
waters, and the cause thereof is that the waters run down near 
this place from the mountain which overhangs the city. There 
are in Antakiyyah more churches than can be counted ; every one 
of them ornamented with gold and silver, and coloured glass, and 
they are paved in squares. In the town is a Bimaristan (or 
hospital), where the patriarch himself tends the sick ; and every 
year he causes the lepers to enter the bath, and he washes their 
hair with his own hands. Likewise the king also does this service 
every year to the poor. The greatest of the lords and patricians 
vie in obtaining of him permission to wash these poor people, 
after the like fashion, and serve them. In this city there are hot 
baths, such as you can find the equal nowhere else in any other 
town for luxury and excellence ; for they are heated with myrtle 
wood (at as), and the water flows in torrents, and with no scant. 

* Mount Silphius overhangs Antioch on the south side. 

t The church here alluded to must, I imagine, be that dedicated to SS. Peter 
and Paul, and built by the Emp-ror Justinian, where, in later times (according 
to the traveller Willebrand, of Oldenburg), the Latin Princes of Antioch were 
buried. Who is referred to under the name of Kusiyan I have been unable to 
discover, neither is there any mention in the Bible of St. Peter having raised a 
king's sen to life at Antioch. According to Church tradition, based on 
Gal. ii. II et scq., St. Peter was Bishop of Antioch before goim; to Rome. 


In the church of Al Kusiyan are innumerable servants who all 
receive their daily rations, and there is an office (diwan} for the 
expenditure and receipts of the church, in which office are some 
ten or more accountants. 

" Some year and a part ago a thunderbolt struck this church, 
and the manner of its doing so was most extraordinary. Now at 
the close of the year 1362 of Alexander, which coincides with the 
year 442 of the Hijrah (and 1050 A.D.), the winter rains had been 
heavy, and some part of the days of the month Nisan (April) were 
already past, when, on the night whose morrow was Saturday, the 
1 3th of Nisan, there came thunder and lightning such as had 
never been known at the time, nor remembered, nor heard of in 
the past. The claps of thunder were oft repeated, and so terrible 
as to cause the people to cry out in fear. Then on a sudden, a 
thunderbolt fell and struck a mother-of-pearl screen which stood 
before the altar in the church of Al Kusiyan, and it split from off 
the face of this (screen) of the Christians, a piece like what might 
be struck off by an iron pickaxe with which stone is hewn. The 
iron cross, too, which was set on the summit of this mother-of- 
pearl (screen), was thrown down (by the thunderbolt), and re- 
mained on the place where it fell ; and a small piece also was cut 
off from the mother-of-pearl. And the thunderbolt descended 
through the crevice in the mother-of-pearl, and travelled down to 
the altar along a massive silver chain, by which is suspended the 
censer ;* now the size of this crevice was of two finger-breadths. 
A great piece of the chain was broken off, and part of it was 
melted, and what was melted of it was found dropped down on 
the ground below. A silver crown which hung before the table of 
the altar was also thrown down. Beyond the table (of the altar), 
and to the west of it, stood three wooden stools, square, and 
high, on which were usually set three large crosses of silver gilt, 
studded with precious stones. But the night before they had 
removed two of the crosses, those on either side, taking them up 

* The word given in the text is Ath Thumiyatiin, evidently not an Arabic 
word. In Du Cange (Gloss. Media et Irifima Grcecitatis, Ludg. Bat. 
mdclxxxviii., p. 502), the word Qvptarbv occurs, said to mean " Thuribulum " 
(a censer), " Acerra " (a casket for incense), which is probably the object 


to the church treasury, and leaving only the middle cross in its 
usual place. Now the two stools on either side were smashed (by 
the thunderbolt), and the pieces sent flying over and beyond the 
altar, though here there was seen no mark of fire, as had appeared 
in the case of the chain, but the stool in the middle remained 
untouched, nor did anything happen to the cross that was set 

" Upon each of the four marble columns which supported the 
silver dome covering the table of the altar was cloth of brocade 
wrapping round the column. Each one of these suffered a greater 
or less stroke (from the thunderbolt) ; but the stroke fell in each 
case on a place (in the cloth) where it had been already worm- 
eaten and worn to shreds ; but there was no appearance as though 
flame had scorched it, nor as though it had been burnt. The 
table (of the altar) was not touched, nor was any damage done to 
the altar-cloths upon it ; at least, no sign of any such damage was 
to be seen. Some of the marble (slabs) which were in front (on 
the pavement below) the table of the altar were struck as though 
by the blow of a pickaxe, and the mortar and lime setting thereof 
(was cracked). Among the rest was a large slab of marble, which 
was torn from its bed and fractured, and thrown up on to the 
square top of the silver dome covering the table of the altar ; and 
here it rested, the remaining pieces of the marble being torn from 
their bed, and scattered far and near. In the neighbourhood of 
the altar was a wooden pulley, in which was a hemp-rope quite- 
close to the silver chain which had been broken, and part of it 
melted and (to this rope was) attached a large silver tray, on 
which stood the bowls* for the glass lamps. This tray remained 
untouched none of the lamps were overturned, nor aught else 
thereon ; neither did any damage happen to a candle that stood 
near the two wooden stools (as already mentioned). The greater 
part of these wondrous occurrences were witnessed by many who 
were in Antakiyyah. 

* In the text the word is Firdkh, which means, literally, " chickens." The 
word, however, has other meanings, as "archway," "folio of paper," etc., and 
must, I imagine, be taken here in the sense of a "bowl " or other vessel in 
which the wick of the lamp was set. 


" Furcher, outside the city, on the night of Monday, the 5th of 
the month Ab (August), of the year before mentioned, there was 
seen in the heavens the likeness of a window, through which light 
shone out broad and glittering, and then became extinguished. 
The people waited till morning, expecting some event therefrom. 
And, after a time news came that in the early part of the day of 
that Monday, at the city of Ghunjurah,* which lies in the Greek 
country, and is nine days' journey from Antakiyyah, terrible earth- 
quakes had taken place, following one another continuously. The 
greater number of the houses (of this city) had been thrown 
down,' and a piece of ground outside the town had been swallowed 
up ; while a large church and a fine fortress which had stood 
here had both disappeared, so that no trace remained of either. 
From the crevice in the earth extremely hot water had been thrown 
up, flowing forth from many springs. It had submerged seventy 
farmsteads. The people fleeing therefrom had escaped for safety 
to the hill-tops and high places around. The water covered the 
surface of the ground during seven days, spreading round about 
the city for the distance of two days' journey. After that time it 
disappeared, and the place where it had been became a swamp 
A number of those who were witnesses of these events testified 
thereto, and the people of Antakiyyah reported to me (Ibn 
Butlan) all that I have here set down. They related, further, that 
when the inhabitants had carried up their goods to the hill-tops, 
the ground rocked so by the strength of the earthquake that the 
chattels came rolling down again to the level earth below. 

" Outside the city (of Antakiyyah) is a river called Al Maklubf 

"" This Ghunjurah is, I conclude, the town of Gangra, the capital of Paphla- 
gonia, and the metropolitan see of the province. Yakut does not mention 
Ghunjurah elsewhere. The geographer Kaswini (Wtistenfeld's edition of the 
text, vol. ii. 368) says that Ghunjurah is a city in the Greek territory, and 
stands on a river called Al Makldb (the Overturned river) a name also given 
to the Orontes, as stated above (p. 59), because it flows from south to north, 
contrary to the habit of other rivers. This other river Al Maklub must, 
however, be the name of one of the affluents of the Halys, which flows north 
into the Euxine, on which the town of Gangra is built. Kaswini gives the 
story of the great earthquake, and inundation, in much the same words as 
those found in our text. 

t Here the river Oronte?. 


(the Overturned), because it takes its course from south to north. 
It is of the size of the Nahr 'Isa (in Babylonia). There are along 
its banks many mills, and it waters the gardens and grounds (of 
the city)." 

" Saith Yakut : So ends what we have transcribed from the 
work of Ibn Butlan." (Yak., i. 382-385.) 

In 1084 the citadel of Antioch was betrayed by one of its 
garrison, and the city came into the hands of Sulaiman ibn 
Kutlimish, the Saljuk Sultan of Iconium. Fourteen years later, 
however (in 1098), Antioch was again retaken by the Christians 
namely, by the army of the First Crusadeafter a siege which 
lasted nine months, and was characterized by many extraordinary 
and miraculous events. Under Kohemond and his successors, 
Antioch became a Christian principality, and remained so for a 
hundred and eighty years, until conquered by Sultan Baibars in 

In 1154 Idrisi gives the following account of the city : 

" Antakiyyah is a city magnificently situated, with agreeable 
environs. With the exception of Damascus, there is none that 
can equal it, either within or without. It has water in plenty 
running through its bazaars and road-ways, and into the castles and 
through the streets. There is a wall going round both the town 
and the gardens : it is 12 miles in length. This wall is marvellous 
and impregnable. It is built of stones, and encloses both the 
city and the mountain that overhangs it. Within the city (wall) 
are mills, and orchards, and gardens, with vegetables and other 
useful growths. The bazaars of the city are thronged, and have 
splendid wares exposed here, and all necessary goods and needful 
chattels. The good things of the place are innumerable, and its 
blessings manifold. They make here plain stuffs (not striped), 
that are renowned, of the sort known as Al ' Attabi (moire"), also 
stuffs called Ad Dastaw.ii, and Al Isfahani, and the like.'' 
(Id, 23.) 

" In Antakiyyah/' according to ! Ali of Herat, " is the tomb 
Habib an Najjar." (Oxf. MS., folio n, verso.} Yakut, and the 
author of the Marasid, add little to details already given. Yakut 
gives Ibn Butlan's long account, already translated. He further 


states that the city was founded by Antiyukhus (Antiochus), the 
second king after Alexander. He mentions a gate called Bab 
Muslim (still so called), where Muslim ibn 'Abd Allah was slain 
when the Greeks tried to retake the city. (Yak., iii. 383.) 
"Between Antakiyyah and the sea is a distance of 2 leagues. 
Antioch has a port called As Suwaidiyyah (see Part II.), where 
the Frank ships lie. The merchandise is carried up to Antioch 
on beasts of burden." (Yak., iii. 385.) Yakut next gives in 
epitome the history and dates of the various sieges, and says in 
conclusion : 

" In Antioch is the tomb of Habib an Najjar (the carpenter), 
which is visited from far and wide. Habib is said to have lived 
in Antioch, and to have come there from a far city, and preached 
to the people, declaring that he was an apostle.'' (Yak., 
iii. 387.) 

Dimashki has the following : 

"Antakiyyah is the chief of the coast towns. It was anciently 
the capital (of Syria) under the Greek dominion, and they named 
it, in honour, Madinat Allah (the City of God). Antioch is a very 
ancient city. It is enclosed by a great wall that embraces four 
hills, covered with woods and gardens. Habib an Najjar was a 
native of this place, who is mentioned in the chapter of the Kuran 
Yd Stn (xxxvi. 26). It is here stated that Habib cried aloud, 
saying, * Oh that my people knew how gracious God hath been 
to me, and that He hath made me one of His honoured ones !' 
For this Habib, when he was sent as an apostle to the people of 
this city (of Antioch), was not credited by them, and they cut off 
his head. Thereupon he took up his head in his left hand, and 
then placing it on the palm of his right hand, spoke the words 
quoted above. And for three days and nights he walked thus in 
their streets and market-places, reciting these same words." 
(Dim., 206.) 

Abu-1 Fida (A. F., 257) adds little to the above accounts, from 
which he freely quotes. The city was visited by Ibn Batutah in 
1355, who, after a general description, speaks of the great city 
wall as already a ruin, having been destroyed when Sultan Baibars 
took the city from the Christians in 1268. He mentions the tomb 


of Habib an Najjar, and extols the gardens and the fertlity of the 
country round, which is watered by the river 'Asi (Orontes). 
(I. B., i. 162.) 


" A very great and celebrated city," writes Ibn Haukal in 978. 
" It has round it a double stone wall, and the garrison is of both 
horse and foot soldiers, also munitions and provisions are kept 
here, and the water-supply is abundant. The city is extremely 
well built and populous, and provisions are cheap. Between this 
city and the Greek territory rises a high mountain range, an off- 
shoot of the Jabal Lukkam, which acts as a barrier between the 
two worlds (of Islam and Christendom). There are among the 
population of Tarsus many persons of discernment and wisdom, 
men of prudence and eminence who understand various matters, 
and also possess wisdom and intelligence and watchfulness. It is 
stated that there are usually in this city 100,000 horsemen, and 
there were very near this number at the time when I (Ibn Haukal) 
visited the city. And the reason thereof is this : that from all the 
great towns within the borders of Sijistan, Kirman, Fars, Khurasan 
and the Jabal (Media), also Tabaristan, Mesopotamia and Adhar- 
baijan, and from the countries of Al 'Irak, Al Hijjaz, Al Yaman, 
Syria and Egypt, and Al Maghrib (Morocco), there is no city but 
has in Tarsus a House (Ddr) for its townsmen. Here the Ghazis 
(or Warriors of the Faith) from each particular country live. For 
when they have once reached Tarsus they settle there and remain 
in garrison. Among them prayer and worship are most diligently 
performed, and funds are sent to them, and they receive alms, 
rich and plentiful. For there is hardly a Sultan who does not send 
here some auxiliary troops : and men of riches give their aid for 
arming and despatching thither the volunteers who have devoted 
themselves to this service. In ever)- country where I have been, 
the rich and powerful do set apart sums for this purpose, as a tax 
on their farms, and fields, and crops, or from their shops in the 
market-places. But the warriors in Tarsus come thither only to 
perish, and it is as though none arrived ; they are lost in the 
battles, and it is almost as if none came. It is even as Allah 
hath said in the Kuran (xix., 98) : ' Canst thou search out one 


of them ? or canst thou hear a whisper from them?'" (Is., 64 ; 
I. H., 122, copied in part by A. F., 249.) 

"Tarsus," says Biladhuri, "was rebuilt by the Khalifs Al 
Mahdi and Ar Rashid, by whom it was refortified and garrisoned." 
(Bil., 169, and A. F., 113.) 

" The Khalif Al Mamun," says Mas'udi, " was buried at Tarsus, 
on the left-hand side of the Mosque. Tarsus was originally gar- 
risoned by 8,000 men. The Gate of the Holy War (Bab al Jihad) 
is that from which the expeditions against the Infidels set out.'' 
(Mas., vii. 2 ; viii. 72.) 

" Tarsus," reports Idrisi, " is a great city with double stone 
walls. It has much merchandise, and the population is very 
numerous. The lands here are fertile in the extreme. Between 
it and the Greek territory are the Lukkam Mountains, which rise 
as a dividing wall between the two worlds (of Islam and Christen- 
dom).'' (Id., 25.) 

" Tarsus," writes Yakut, " is a city of the Syrian Thughur (or 
Frontier Fortress). It lies 6 leagues from Adhanah. The city 
is divided by the river Al Baradan (Cydnus). The tomb of 
Al Mamun is to be seen here. Between the two cities of Tarsus 
and Adana are the Fanduk (hostelry) of Bugha and the Fanduk 
al Jadid (the New Hostelry). Tarsus has double walls and a 
broad ditch, also six gates. This Frontier City of the Muslims 
remained in their hands till the year~354 (965), when Nikfur 
(Nicephorus), King of the Greeks, having conquered the Thughur 
(Frontier Fortresses) and Al Massissah, laid siege to Tarsus, 
and took it by capitulation. Then all the Muslims who would, 
were allowed to leave the city, taking with them their goods. 
Those who remained had to pay the capitation-tax. The Jami', 
and other Mosques, were destroyed. Nikfur burnt all the 
Kurans ; further, he took all the arms away from the arsenals. 
Tarsus and all the country round has remained in the hands of 
the Infidels to this day (1225)." (Yak., iii. 526; Mar., ii. 200.) 

Dimashki (Dim., 214) and Abu-1 Fida (A. F., 249) add nothing 
to the above 



THE place-names in Syria and Palestine form an interesting 
record, bearing the impress of the various nations and creeds that, 
during successive epochs, have held dominion in the Holy Land. 
The Canaanite and the Hebrew, the Greek, the Roman and the 
Byzantine, the Arab and the Turk, all have in turn imposed their 
names on the towns they have founded or rebuilt as a glance 
over the following pages will show. But in spite of foreign in- 
vasion and settlement, the bulk of the population of Syria always 
has been, and is still, Semitic in race, and hence it is natural to 
find that the great majority of the place-names are Semitic 
(Hebrew, Aramaic, or Arabic) in etymology. 

After the Arab conquest in the seventh century, the majority of 
the Greek names imposed by the Byzantines (and by their predeces- 
sors, the Romans and the Successors of Alexander) fell into disuse, 
their places being once again taken by the older Semitic names, 
which probably had never fallen into desuetude among the rural, 
and therefore purely Semitic, population of the country. 

This reversion from the Greek name to the name used in the 
Old Testament, is, however, a rule to which there are some excep- 
tions, for nothing is more curious than the apparently arbitrary 
manner in which, while some of the ancient names are at the 
present time fully retained in use, others have completely fallen 
into oblivion. Of places which the Greeks renamed, but of 
which the Greek name was, at the Arab conquest, replaced 
by the older Semitic form, are such cities as : 'Akkah (St. Jean 
d'Acre), called in Judges Accho, which the Greeks named 
Ptolemais ; Baisan, the Biblical Bethshean, which in Greek was 
called Scythopolis ; 'Amman, the Rabbath Ammon of King 


David's wars, which Ptolemy II. rebuilt and named Philadelphia ; 
Bait Jibril, the Betogabra of Josephus, called in Greek Eleuthero- 
polis ; and many others. 

An exception to the foregoing, as being a place which at the 
present day bears a Greek name (slightly corrupted in the Arabic 
pronunciation), and of *vhich the ancient Hebrew name is to-day 
utterly unknown, is the Biblical Shechem, ever since the Arab 
conquest known as Nabulus, from Neapolis, the New Town, built 
by the Emperor Titus. 

The purely Greek place-names that have survived (in an Arabic 
form) down to the present day may in general, for their etymology, 
be referred to two classes. To the first class belong the names 
of towns in Greece which the Macedonians, in memory of their 
former homes, gave to their new settlements ; the second class 
comprises the names of such towns as the successors of Alexander 
founded or rebuilt, and named after Alexander, or some member 
of the reigning family of the Seleucidae. To the first of these 
categories belong Ar Rastan, Arethusa ; Kurus, Cyrrhus ; Fahl, 
Pella ; to the second the many Alexandrias under the Arabicized 
form of Al Iskandariyyah and Al Iskandarunah ; and such cities 
as Antakiyyah, Antioch ; Al Ladhikiyyah, Laodicea ; Afamiyyah or 
Famiyya, Apamea ; and some others. 

Baniyas, Paneas (named from a temple to the god Pan) ; 
Tarabulus, Tripolis ; and Nabulus, Neapolis, come under neither 
of the above categories, but the etymology is not far to seek. 
Among the names of Roman origin are such as Al Lajjun, Legio ; 
Tabariyyah, Tiberias ; and the many Kaisariyyahs, Caesarea 
Palaestina, and others. 

Of Arab names that almost letter for letter reproduce the 
Hebrew word, only a few need here be cited, for examples meet 
the eye on every hand. Ba'albakk, 'Athlith, and other such 
words of purely Semitic etymology, must date, without doubt, from 
the very earliest ages, though the Hebrew or Aramaic form may 
not happen to be found in the Books of the Old Testament. 
Numberless other examples of the Hebrew name in an Arabic 
form occur as etymological examples, proving the extraordinary 
vitality of the ancient pronunciation even in minor details. Such 


are Maab, Moab ; Ariha, Jericho ;* Yafah, Joppa ; Kadas, 
Kadesh ; Azdud, Ashdod ; 'Afik, Apheca ; Ghazzah, Gaza ; and 
'Askalan, Ascalon. 

This last (Ascalon) is curious as an exception to the rule that 
the guttural aspirate, peculiar to the Semitic languages, and known 
as the letter 'Ain, when it occurs in the Hebrew, is represented 
by a corresponding 'Ain (or Chain) of the Arabic, e.g., Arabic 
'Ashtara, Hebrew 'Ashtaroth. But Ascalon in Hebrew is spelt 
with an initial Aleph (Ashkelon), while in Arabic the name com- 
mences with an 'Ain ('Askalan). f 

This interchange of Aleph and 'Ain is not, however, unknown 
in Arab words, an example occurring in the name Barin, which is 
also pronounced Ba'rin (with an 'Ain) ; further, that 'Ain some- 
times interchanges with the hard, or the soft, H, is seen in such 
examples as Zurrah, for Zura',; and in the name of one of the 
gates of the Sanctuary at Makkah, which Yakut notes is found 
written and pronounced either Bab al Hazurah, or Al 'Azurah 
(with initial Ha, or 'Ain). 

AL 'ABADIYYAH. "A village (of the district) of Al Marj, near 
Damascus." (Yak., iii. 599; Mar., ii. 231.) 

ABAWA. "The name of a place, or of a mountain in Syria. 
Mentioned in the poems of An Nabighah." (Yak., i. 101 ; 
Mar., i. 17.) 

'ABB&D. " A mountain in Syria." (Yak., iii. 608 ; Mar., 
ii. 234.) 

ABIL. "A village of Hims, lying near the city, to the south, 
and about 2 miles distant." (Yak., i. 57 ; Mar., i. 4.) 

ABIL AL KAMH (AsiL OF THE WHEAT). u A village belong- 
ing to Baniyas. It lies between Damascus and the sea." (Yak., 
i. 56; Mar, i. 4.) This is said to be the Biblical Abel Beth 
Maachah of 2 Sam. xx. 14. 

ABIL AS SiJK (ABIL OF THE MARKET). " A large village of 
the Ghautah (District round Damascus), in the district of the Wadi 
(Suk Barada)." (Yak , i. 57 ; Mar., i. 4.) The ancient Abila, of 
the Abilene District, mentioned in St. Luke iii. i. 

* See also p. 397. t See Index, s. v. "Askaldn. 

% See Index, s. v. Ba'rin and Zurrah. 


ABIL AZ ZAIT (AsiL OF THE OLIVES). " In the Jordan Pro- 
vince, in the eastern part of Syria. The Prophet despatched an 
expedition thither under Usamah.'' (Yak., i. 56 ; Mar., i. 4.) 
The present ruin of Abil, the Abila of the Decapolis, lying to the 
south of the Yarmuk River, the remains of which have recently 
been mapped and described by G. Schumacher, for the P. E. F. 

A'BIIJN.- Visited by Nasir-i-Khusrau in 1047. ' From Damun 
we passed south to another village, called A'bilin, where there is 
the tomb of Hud peace be upon him ! which I visited. Within 
the enclosure here is a mulberry-tree ; and there is likewise the 
tomb of the prophet 'Uzair peace be upon him ! which I also 
visited." (N. Kh., 15.) Guerin considers A'bilin to represent the 
ancient Zabulon, destroyed by Cestius. The Muslim prophet 
Hud is the Biblical Eber. He was sent to convert the ancient 
'Adites, who, refusing to listen to him, were destroyed by a burn- 
ing wind. (Kuran vii. 63.) 'Uzair is Ezra, or Esdras. (Kuran 
ix. 30 : " Moreover, the Jews say, * 'Uzair is the Son of God.' ") 
According to Muslim tradition, Ezra was raised to life after he had 
been a hundred years dead, and dictated to the Scribes, from 
memory, the whole Jewish Law, which had been lost during the 

AL ABRASHIVYAH. "A village of Damascus." (Mar., i. 12; 
and in Yak., v. n.) 

ABTAR. "A place in Syria.'' (Yak., i. 87 ; Mar., i. n.) 

'ABftD. " A small town in the Filastin Province, near Jeru- 
salem. The name is Hebrew, and is become Arabicized." (Yak., 
iii. 583; Mar., ii. 225.) 

ADAMI, OR UDAMI. " A district in Syria belonging to the 
Kuda'ah tribe." (Yak., i. 167 ; Mar., i. 36.) 

ADHANAH (ADANA). "This city was rebuilt in A.H. 141 
(758), and garrisoned by troops from Khurasan (in Persia). Harun 
ar Rashid built the castle (Al Kasr) at the Bridge of Adhanah> 
over the Saihan (the ancient Sarus), in the year 165 (782)." 
(Bil., 1 68 ; copied by Yak., i. 179, and Dim., 214.) 

"The city," says Istakhri, "much resembles the one-half of Al 
Massissah (Mopsuestia). It stands on the river Saihan, and to 
the west of that stream. It is a pleasant city, with fertile lands, 


on the road to Tarsus ; well fortified and populous." (Is., 63 ; 
I. H., 122 ; copied by A. F., 249.) 

"There are here bazaars, and craftsmen," writes Idrisi, "with 
much coming and going. The Saihan River, on which the city 
stands, is smaller than the Jaihan (Pyramus). There is across it 
a bridge most wonderfully built, and extremely long. This river 
flows down out of the (keek country." (Id., 24.) 

"The bridge is of stone, and leads from the town to the 
fortress, which is on the side towards Al Massissah, and is like a 
suburb. The bridge is an arch of a single span. Adhanah has 
eight gates, with walls, and a ditch." (Yak., i. 179.) 

" The bridge is 170 and odd ells in length." (Dim., 214.) 

Adhanah to Antakiyyah (I.H., Id.) 3 miles : to Al Massissah 
(Is., I.H., Id.) i day, or 4 leagues (Yak.), or 12 miles (A. F.) ; 
to Tarsus (Is., I.H., Id), i day, or 18 miles (A. F.). 

'ADHRA. " A well-known village," says Yakut, " of the Ghautah 
(District round) Damascus ; or the Iklim Khaulan. Marj 'Adhra 
(the Meadow of 'Adra) is called from it, and thereto you descend 
coming from the Eagle's Gorge (Thaniyyat al 'Ukab) whence 
you perceive the village on your left. There is a minaret 
here. In the Mosque of the village is a palm-tree." (Yak., 
iii. 625 ; Mar., ii. 243.) 

ADHRA'AH, OR ADHRI'AH. "The capital of the Province of Al 
Bathaniyyah." (Yb., 113.) This town is identified with the 
Edrei of Numbers xxi. 33, the capital of Bashan. 

" Adhri'ah," says Mukaddasi, " is a city lying close to the 
desert. To it belongs the District of Jabal Jarash (the hill-country 
of Gerasa), which lies opposite (across the Jordan) to the Jabal 
'Amilah. This country is full of villages, and Tiberias owes its 
prosperity to the neighbourhood of the two districts (of Jabal 
Jarash and Jabal 'Amilah)." (Muk , 162.) 

In the thirteenth century, according to Yakut (Yak., i. 176), the 
city was celebrated for the many learned men who were natives of 
the place. (Also Mar., i. 39 ; and A. F., 253.) 

Adhra'ah to Damascus (Is., I. H., Id., Yak.), 4 days, or 2 days 
(according to Muk.); to Tabariyyah (Muk.), r march; to Az 
Zarika (Muk.), i march ; to 'Amman (A. F.), 54 miles ; to As 
Sanamain (A. F.), 18 miles. 


ADHRUH. " The capital of the Province of Ash Sharah 
(Edom)." (Yb., 114.) 

"Adhruh," says Mukaddasi, "is a frontier town, between the 
Hijjaz and Syria. They preserve here the Prophet's mantle, and 
also a treaty given by him, and written on skin." (Muk., 178.) 

Yakut couples Adhruh with Al Jarba, a town lying a mile 
distant, both of which were conquered during the Prophet's life- 
time in A.H. 9. Adhruh capitulated for 100 Dinars of tribute. 
(Yak., i. 174; Mar., i, 39.) 

'ADLI)N, OR 'ADHN^JN. "A strong fort on the sea, lying 
between Tyre and Sarafand, 20 miles from the latter." (Id., 12.) 
Kudamah gives the more ancient spelling, 'Adnun. 

" 'Adhnun," says Yakut, " is a town belonging to Saida 
(Sidon), on the Damascus coast." (Yak., iii. 626 ; Mar., 
ii. 243.) 

The name is probably a corruption of Ad Nonum " at the 
ninth mile." The place is identified with the Ornithopolis of 

city," says Ya'kubi, in 891, "now in ruins. It is situated on 
a large lake." (Yb., in.) 

For the lake, see above (p. 70). In Yakut's days (thirteenth 
century) the town was apparently fortified. The district of the 
same name formed part of the Hims Province. The same authority 
states that the city was founded by Seleucus, who also built 
Ladhikiyyah (Laodicea), Salukiyyah (Seleucia), and Halab 
(Aleppo), six years after the death of Alexander the Great. (Yak., 
i. 322; Mar., i. 97.) 

"Famiyyah, or Afamiyyah," Yakut continues, "'is a large city 
in the district (Kurah) of the same name. It lies on the coast- 
side of the Hims Province. Afamiyyah was taken by capitulation 
by Abu 'Ubaidah in the year 17 A.H. (638) on the stipulated pay- 
ment of poll tax (Jaziyah) and land-tax (Kharaf)" (Yak., 
iii. 846; Mar., ii. 333.) 

In Abu-1 Fida's time (fourteenth century), Famiyyah formed 
part of the Shaizar District. " It is also called Afamiyyah, and 
is a very ancient town, which has given its name to the district. 


The ancient city stands on a height. There is here a lake of 
sweet water, through which flows the Nahr al Maklub (the 
Orontes)." (A. F., 263.) 

AFIK, OR FiK. "A town, near which is the celebrated Pass 
(Akabahy (Yb., 115.) The Biblical Aphek (i Kings xx. 26). 
The ' ' Akabah, Pass, or Ascent, lies on the high-road from Damascus 
to Jerusalem, and leads down from the plateau of the Hauran to 
the Jordan Valley. 

" Afik," says Yakut, " is a village of the Hauran, on the road 
down to the Ghaur (of the Jordan). It stands at the entrance of 
the celebrated Pass of Afik. This Pass is about 2 miles long. 
The common people pronounce the name Fik. The town over- 
looks Tabariyyah and the lake, and many times have I been 
there." (Yak., i. 332 ; iii. 932 ; Mar, i. 82 ; ii. 373.) 

'Akabah Fik to Jasim (Muk.), i march, or (I. Kh.) 24 miks; 
to Nawa (Muk.), i march ; to Tabariyyah (Is., I.H., Muk.), 
i march, or (Id.) part of a day, or (I. Kh.) 6 miles. 

AFIJLA. "A village in Syria. A celebrated commentator of 
Mutanabbi's poems was a native of this place. He died 441 A.H.' 
(Yak., i. 332; Mar., i. 82.) 

'AFRA. "A fortress in the Filastin Province, near Jerusalem." 
(Yak., iii. 688 ; Mar., ii. 264.) 

'AFRABALA. "A place in the Jordan Ghaur (or low-land), near 
Baisan and Tabariyyah." (Yak., iii. 688; Mar., ii. 264.) 

AL AHASS (THE BALD) AND SHUBAITH. " The name of a large 
district, possessing many villages and fields, and lying both north 
and south of Halab (Aleppo). Its chief town is Khunasirah, 
where the Khalif 'Omar ibn 'Abd al 'Aziz dwelt. Shubaith is a 
black mountain in this district. On its summit are four ruined 
villages, belonging to the people of Halab. In their neighbour- 
hood are mills." (Yak., i. 151 ; Mar., i. 31.) 

" Al Ahass," says Abu-1 Fida, " is a mountain-tract, where 
there are many villages. It lies east of Halab, between it and 
Khunasirah, which last lies beyond to the east again. Shubaith 
is a smaller mountain than Al Ahass, and lies to the east of it. 
Between the two runs a Wadi, a horse-gallop across, in which lies 
Khunasirah." (A. F., 233.) 



AL AHKAF (THE SAND-HILLS). "A mountain in Syria." (Yak., 
i. 154; Mar., i. 31.) 

'AijA. "A village in the Hauran, near Jasim." (Yak., iii. 750; 
Mar., ii. 291.) 

'AiN (A SPRING OF WATER). "A village under Jabal al Lukkam, 
near Mar'ash. From it is called the Darb (or Road of) al 'Ain, 
leading up to Haruniyyah. It is a pleasant hamlet, and counted 
among the fortresses of Al Massissah." (Yak., iii. 756 ; Mar., 
ii. 293.) 

'AiN JALIJT (GOLIATH'S SPRING). "A small and pleasant town, 
lying between Nabulus and Baisan, in the Filastin Province. The 
place was taken by the Rumi (Crusaders), and retaken by Saladin 
in 579 (1183)." (Yak., iii. 760 ; Mar., ii. 295.) 

'AiN AL JARR. "This place lies between Ba'albakk and 
Damascus, in the Bika'ah (or Plain of Coelo-Syria). It is a well- 
known spot ; and tradition relates that Noah at this place entered 
the ark." (Yak., iii. 760; Mar., ii. 295.) 

" There are here," writes Abu-1 Fida, " ruins of enormous stone 
buildings. It lies a long mile south of Ba'albakk. At 'Ain al 
Jarr begins the great river that flows through the Bika'ah (of 
Ccelo-Syria), called the Litany." (A. F., 230.) 

'Ain al Jarr is at the present day called Anjar. Near it lie the 
ruins of the ancient Chalcis ad Belum. 

'Ain al Jarr to Al Kar'un (Muk.), i march ; to Ba'albakk 
(Muk.), i march. 

'AiN SALIM, OR 'AiN SAILAM. "A place 3 miles from Halab 
(Aleppo)." (Yak., iii. 762 ; Mar., ii. 296.) 

'AiN AS SALLR. " Sail fir? writes Yakut, " is the fish also 
called Aljirriy in the Syrian dialect. The place is near Antakiy- 
yah (Antioch), and the Sallur is the largest of the fish found in 
the spring, which is so called from the number of these fish found 
there. 'Ain as Sallur, and the lake near it, belonged to Maslamah, 
the son of the Khalif 'Abd al Malik. The lake is also called 
Buhairah Yaghra." (Yak., iii. 762 ; Mar., ii. 296.) 

'AiN TAB. "A fortified castle," says Yakut, "lying between 
Antakiyyah and Halab, with villages round it, among which is 
Duluk. It was formerly itself called Duluk, which is now one of 

'A IN TAB. 'A IN Z ARE AH. 387 

its dependencies. 'Ain Tab belongs to Halah." (Yak., iii. 759 ; 
Mar., ii. 294.) 

"'Ain Tab," Dimashki writes in the early part of the fourteenth 
century, "lies north-east of Halab. It is a place with a strong 
castle. The people are Turkomans. There is a small river here, 
and gardens." (Dim., 205.) 

" 'Ain Tab, in Kinnasrin," according to Abu-1 Fida, " is a very 
beautiful town, with a castle that is built on the solid rock. It 
has water in plenty, and gardens, and is the capital of its district. 
There are fine markets here, much frequented by merchants and 
travellers. It lies three marches north of Halab. Duluk lies 
near 'Ain Tab, and is now in ruins. The place is mentioned in 
the wars of Saladin and Nur ad Din. 'Ain Tab is three marches 
south of Kala'at ar Rum, and the same distance south-east of 
Bahasna." (A. F., 269.) 

'AiN THARMA. "A village in the Ghautah (district) of 
Damascus." (Yak., iii. 759 ; Mar., ii. 294.) The latter writes 
the name 'Ain Tuma. 

'AINUN. "A village near (and south of) Jerusalem." (Yak., 
iii. 764 ; Mar., ii. 298.) 

Also called Bait 'Ainun. (See below.) The 'Ainuni raisins, 
which come from here, are celebrated, according to Mukaddasi. 
(Muk., 180.) 

'AiNt>N OR 'AiN UNA. "This is a village south of the 
Bathaniyyah Province, and lying on the shore of the Red Sea, 
between Madyan and As Sala. The pilgrim road from Egypt to 
Makkah passes through it." (Yak., iii. 758, 765 ) 

The ancient OJKTJ, the harbour of Midian mentioned by 

states that the town was built by Ar Rashid, being also refortified 
and garrisoned, in the year 180 (796), by troops from Khurasan. 
(Bil., 171 ; copeJ by I. F., 113 ; and in Yak., iii. 761.) 

" The town," says Istakhri, " lies in a country very like the 
Ghaur (or Jordan lowland). There are palm-trees and fruits of 
all kinds, and great fertility ; also arable fields and pasture lands. 



The city has fine walls, and its prosperity is great." (Is., 63; 
I. H., 121 ; copied by Id., 24, and A. F., 234.) 

Yakut in the thirteenth century speaks of it as a town of the 
Thughur (or Frontier Fortresses), belonging to Al Massissah. 
"It was rebuilt by Abu Sulaiman at Turki al Khadiin, about the 
year 190 (804), when he was governor of the Thughur, under the 
Khalif Ar Rashid. After that the Rumis (Crusaders) took the 
place and laid it in ruins. Saif ad Daulah ibn Hamdan spent 
three million Dirhams on rebuilding it, but the Rumis retook it 
(A.D. 962) in his day, and it is still in their hands. It is now 
peopled by Armenians." (Yak., iii. 761 ; Mar., ii. 295.) 

" 'Ain Zarbah," says Abu-1 Fida, " is a town at the foot of a hill 
which is crowned by a castle. The town is populous, and is 
watered by a river. It lies between Sis and Tall Hamdun, and 
to the north of the Jaihan (river Pyramus), which flows between 
it and Tall Hamdun. 'Ain Zarbah lies south, and rather west of 
Sis, and at a short day's march from it. The people have cor- 
rupted the name, and call it Nawarza. Muhallabi says that 
between Sis and 'Ain Zarbah is 24 miles, which is the exact 
distance between Sis and Nawarza, proving that 'Ain Zarbah is 
identical with Nawarza." (A. F., 251.) 

'Ain Zarbah to Massissah (Is., I. H., Id.), i march; to 
Antakiyyah (Id.), 2 marches. 

'AITHAH. " A district of Syria." (Yak., iii. 750 ; Mar., ii. 291 .) 

'AjAB. "A place in Syria, mentioned by the poets." (Yak., 
iii. 617 ; Mar., ii. 238.) 

AJAM. " A place in Syria near Al Faradis, in the neighbour- 
hood of Halab." (Yak., i. 135 ; Mar., i. 27.) 

'AJLN. " In the Iklim (or district of) Jarash," says Dimashki, 
" is the town of 'Ajlun, where there is a very strong fortress. In 
the town is running water ; fruits of all kinds and provisions are 
here in plenty. The fortress is very high placed, and you can see 
it from four days' march away." (Dim., 200.) 

The fortress is at the present day called Kala'at ar Rubad the 
Castle of the Suburb it is a conspicuous landmark in all the 
south Jordan district. 

" 'Ajlun," writes Abu-1 Fida in the fourteenth century, " is the 

'AJLUN.'AKIR. 389 

name of the fortress, and its suburb (that is the town of 'Ajlun), 
is called Al Ba'uthah, which is distant from it about a horse- 
gallop. It lies to the east of the Ghaur (or Jordan Valley), 
opposite Baisan. The fortress of 'Ajlfin is a celebrated and very 
strong place. It can be seen from Baisan. The town has 
gardens and running water. It lies east of Baisan, and has been 
recently rebuilt by 'Izz ad Din Usamah, one of Saladin's Amirs." 
(A. F., 245.) 

The place was visited by Ibn Batutah in 1355, who speaks of it 
as ''A fine town with good markets, and a strong castle. A 
stream runs through the town, and the waters are sweet and good." 
(I. B, i. 129.) 

AJNADAIN. " The site of the famous battle-field of the year 
13 A.H. (634). It took place near Ar Ramlah, in Filastin, and 
in the Kurah (or district of) Bait jabrin." (Yak., i. 136; Mar., 
i. 27.) 

The actual site of this famous battle between the Greeks and 
the first Muslim conquerors has never been identified. 

'AKABAT AN NISA. (THE WOMAN'S PASS). " Near Baghras on 
the road to Al Massissah, so called from an accident that happened 
here to one of the wives of Maslamah the son of the Khalif 'Abd 
al Malik, during his expedition against 'Amuriyyah (Amorium). 
The woman fell over the precipice." (Yak., iii. 692.) 

'AKABAT AR RUMAN, OR AR RUMAD!. "A Pass between 
Ba'albakk and Damascus." (Yb., 112.) 

'AKABAT AS SiR. " A Pass in the district near Al Hadath, in 
the Thughur (or Frontier Fortresses). It is a narrow and long 
Pass." (Yak., iii. 692 ; Mar., ii., 265.) The latter spells the 
name Ash Shir. 

AL AKHRAJIYYAH. " A place in Syria, mentioned by the poet 
Jarir." (Yak., i. 161 ; Mar., i. 34.) 

AL AKHUWANAH. "A place in the Jordan Province, on the 
shore of the Lake of Tiberias." (Yak., i. 334; Mar., i. 83.) 

'AKIR (EKRON). "A large village," says Mukaddasi, "possess- 
ing a fine Mosque. Its inhabitants are much given to good 
works. The bread here is not to be surpassed for quality. The 
village lies on the road (from Ar Ramlah) to Makkah." (Muk., 


176.) Yakut calls it Al 'Akir, adding that it belongs to Ar 
Ramlah. (Yak., iii. 697 ; Mar., ii. 267.) 

HISN 'AKKAR. "An impregnable fortress, built since the dajs 
of Islam. There is a channel of water coming right into the 
castle, brought down from the hills above, and sufficient both for 
domestic purposes and for drinking." (Dim., 208.) The district 
of Jabal 'Akkar lies immediately north of Tripoli. 

AL AKLIM. "A district in the neighbourhood -of Damascus." 
(Yak, i. 339; Mar, i. 84.) 

AKMINAS. "A large village of the Halab Province. It lies in 
the Jabal As Summak. Its inhabitants are Ismailians." (Yak, 
i. 339 ; Mar, i. 83.) 

'AKRABA. "The name of a town in the Jaulan Province of 
Damascus. The (ancient) Ghassanide kings dwelt here of old." 
(Yak, iii. 695; Mar, ii. 267.) 

LIERS). Noticed by the traveller Ibn Jubair (i 185). " It lies in 
the Lebanon Mountains, and is now in the hands of the Franks." 

a- J-, 2 S7 .) 

" Hisn al Akrad," says Dimashki, " is an impregnable fortress 
set on the dividing line between (the province of) Damascus and 
the coast (district). From it one can see Damascus, Kara, An 
Nabk, and Ba'albakk ; and down even to the sea-coast." (Dim, 
208.) Abu-1 Fida, some years later, speaks of it as "A strong 
fortress on the mountains opposite, and west of Hims, which are 
part of the (Lebanon called) Jabal Jalil. It lies between Hims 
and TarabuluSj a march from either. The fortress has suburbs. 
Before Tarabulus was taken by the Muslims (in mo), this was 
the seat of their Government." (A. F, 259.) 

Hisn al Akrad took its name from the fact that for many years 
its garrison was composed of Kurdish troops. It is also known 
as Kala'at al Hisn the Castle of the Fortress and in Crusading 
times was called Crac des Chevaliers. Ibn Batutah visited the 
place in 1355. He speaks of it as "A small town, with many 
trees and streams, standing on the summit of a hill." (I. B, 
i. 140.) 

AKSAL. "A village of the Jordan Province, lying 5 leagues 


from Tiberias towards Ar Ramlah. The river Abu Futrus is in 
its neighbourhood." (Yak., i. 342.) According to the Marasid 
(Mar., i. 85) the name is spelt Aksak. 

AL AKWAKH. "A district of Baniyas in the Damascus 
Province." (Yak., i. 343 ; Mar., i. 86.) 

'AL'AL. "A high mountain. It lies in the Bathaniyyah 
Province, between the Ghaur (of the Jordan) and Jabal ash 
Sharah." (Yak., iii. 712.) The Marasid (Mar., ii. 274) says it is 
situated above As Sal', and between Al 'Ukad and the Jabal ash 
Sharah. This 'Al'al may possibly be the Biblical Elealeh (Num. 
xxxii. 3), at the place now called Khirbat al 'Al, south of 'Amman. 

'AuKiN. "A village outside Damascus." (Mar., ii. 228.) 

AL 'ALLAH. " A large Kurah (or district) of Ma'arrah an 
Nu'man, lying between Halab and Hamah, towards the desert ; 
it contains many villages." (Yak., iii. 710; Mar., ii. 273.) 

AL 'ALLATAN. "A Kurah (or district) of Hims in Syria." 
(Yak., iii. 709 : Mar , ii. 273.) 

ALtis. "Abu Sa'ad says Alus is a town on the coast near 
Tarsus ; but this is probably an error on his part." (Yak., i. 352 ; 
Mar., i. 88.) 

AMARR. "A place in the Syrian Desert, on the road to the 
Hijjaz. It lies north of the road to Busaitah." (Yak., i. 361 ; 
Mar., i. 91.) 

district) of Halab, near Dabik. It belonged originally to Antakiy- 
yah, and most of the provisions of Antioch come from thence." 
(Yak., iii. 727; Mar., ii. 280.) In Crusading times this was 
known as the Plain of Antioch. 

Ibn Batutah, who crossed the district in 1355, describes it as 
"lying equidistant from Antioch, Tizin, and Baghras. The 
Turkomans dwell here with the Franks." (I. B., i. 165.) The 
name sometimes occurs in the plural form Al A'mdk. (Yak., 
i. 316; Mar., i. 77.) 

the Balka Province (Penea)." (Yb., 113.) Mukaddasi, in 985, 
writes : " Amman, lying on the border of the desert, has round 
it many villages and cornfields. The Balka District, of which it 


is the capital, is rich in grain and flocks ; it also has many streams, 
the waters of which work the mills. In the city near the market- 
place stands a fine mosque, the court of which is ornamented 
with mosaic. We have heard said that it resembles that of 
Makkah. The Castle of Goliath is on the hill overhanging the 
city, and therein is the Tomb of Uriah, * over which is built a 
mosque. Here, likewise, is the Circus of Solomon. Living here 
is cheap, and fruit is plentiful. On the other hand, the people ot 
the place 'are illiterate, and the roads thither wretched. But the 
city is even as, a harbour of the desert, and a place of refuge for 
the Badawin Arabs." (Muk., 175 ; quoted also by Yak., iii. 760.) 
The Tomb of Uriah and the Castle of Goliath are, doubtless, 
the small mosque within the citadel, overhanging the town on the 
north. The Circus of Solomon is the ancient theatre, capable, it 
is said, of having seated six thousand spectators. 

Yakut (Yak., iii. 719 ; Mar., ii. 278) alludes to 'Amman as' the 
city of Dakiyanus (Decius), the Emperor under whose reign the 
Seven Sleepers entered the Cave of Ar Rakim (see p. 274). 
Yakut further adds the following legendary version of the Biblical 
account of Lot's escape from Sodom and Gomorrha : 

"It is mentioned by a certain learned man of the Jews, that he 
read in one of the books of God, that when Lot fled with his 
family from Sadum and its people, his wife turned back, and was 
changed into a pillar of salt. But he went on to Zugharf (Zoar), 
and none were saved but he and his brother and his two 
daughters. Now, the two daughters imagined to themselves that 
Allah had destroyed all the world, and they took counsel how the 
seed of their father and their uncle should continue. And they 
made them both drunk with wine, and they each did lie with one 
of them, and both did conceive. And the two men knew nothing 
of what had taken place. Then one bare a son, and called his 
name 'Amman' that is to say, He who is of the Uncle ('Amm) ; 
and the other also bare a son, and called him Maab that is, fie 
who is of the Father (Ab). When the two boys had grown to 

* The history of Uriah, according to the Muslim tradition, is given in 
G. Weil's Biblische Legenden der Mtiselmiinner, p. 210. 
t In the text by mistake written Znfar. 

'AMMAN. 'AM WAS. 393 

man's estate, each founded a city in Syria, and called it after his 
own name. And these two cities ('Amman and Maab) are near 
to one another in the Syrian waste." 

Abu-1 Fida, in 1321, writes of 'Amman as follows : 

" It is a very ancient town, and was ruined before the days of 
Islam. It is mentioned in the history of the Israelites. There 
are great ruins here, and the river Az Zarka (Jabbok) flows 
through them, which (later on) crosses the Pilgrim Road from 
Damascus (to Makkah). The town is to the west of the Zarka, 
and lies about a march to the north of the Birkat Ziza. At 
'Amman are many great Butm (Terebinth) and other trees. All 
around it are fields, and the soil is very fertile. According to 
tradition, it was Lot who founded 'Amman." (A. F., 247.) 

'Amman to the river Jordan (Muk.), i march ; to Bait ar Ram 
(Muk.), i march ; to Maab (Muk.), i march : to Az Zarika 
(Muk.), i march; to Jerusalem (Id.), 2 days. 

'A.MMtiRiYYAH.* "A small town on the bank of the 'Asi 
(Orontes), between Afamiyyah and Shaizar. There are remains 
and ruins here, and also mills." (Yak., iii. 731 : Mar., ii. 282.) 

'AMTA. "A town in the Jordan Province, and of the Ghaur 
(or lowland). There is here the tomb of (the conqueror of 
Syria) Abu 'Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah, though others say it is at 
Tabariyyah. From 'Amman to 'Amta, which is in the middle of 
the Ghaur, is 12 leagues, and the same thence on to Tabariyyah. 
They make here excellent arrows." (Yak., .iii. 722 ; Mar., ii. 278.) 

'AMIJS. "A small town near Bait Lahm (Bethlehem), belong- 
ing to Jerusalem." (Yak., iii. 594 ; Mar., ii. 228.) 

'AMWAS (EMMAUS NICOPOLIS). "A town in Palestine." (Yb.. 

Mukaddasi says of 'Amwas : " It is said that this place was in 
ancient days the capital of the province, but that the population 
removed therefrom to be nearer to the sea, and more in the 
plain, on account of the wells : for the village lies on the skirt of 
the hill-country." (Muk., 176.) 

Yakut speaks of the city as situated " in the Kurah (province) 
of Filastin, near Jerusalem. 'Amwas \\as the capital of Filastin 

* Spelt the same as 'Ammuriyyah, or 'Amuriyyah, the Arabic form of 
Amorium in Phrygia. 


anciently, but the capital was removed thence to (Ar Ramlah) 
nearer the sea-coast, because of the lack of wells ; for 'Amwas is 
on the mountain-side. It lies 6 miles from Ar Ramlah, on the 
road to Jerusalem. The plague of 'Amwas took its origin here 
in 'Omar's time, in the year 18 ; and they say twenty-five thousand 
died of it." (Yak., iii. 729; Mar., ii. 281.) 

'ANADHAN. According to Yakut, "a village near Kinnasrin, 
in the Kurah (district) of Urtik, of the 'Awasim Province." Ac- 
cording to another account (Marasid), it lies to the north-east of 
Halab. (Yak., iii. 733; v. 25; Mar., ii. 283.) 

fortress on the sea. Thence to Hisn Bathrun is 5 miles, and to 
Atrabulus 8 miles." (Id., 17.) 

ANAFAH. " A small town of the Syrian coast, to the east of 
Jubail and of Jabal Sahyun, and 8 leagues from the latter." 
(Yak., i. 390; Mar., i. 98.) 

'ANAH. "A town of the Jordan Province." (Yak., iii. 595 ; 
Mar., ii. 229.) 

A'NAK. "A small town of the Hauran, in the Damascus 
Province. They make here carpets and excellent clothes, which 
take their name from this place." (Yak., i. 316 ; Mar., i. 77.) 

AL ANDARIN. "A village," says Yakut in 1225, "that existed 
formerly to the south of Halab, a day's ride on horseback away 
on the edge of the desert. There are no habitations beyond it. 
It is now in ruins." (Yak., i. 373 ; Mar., i. 96.) 

THE PRESENT DAY TARTUS). "A town on the coast of the Hims 
Province." (Yb., 112.) 

Istakhri and Ibn Haukal, writing in the tenth century, report : 
" Antarsus (or Antartus) is a fortress on the sea ; it is the frontier 
city of Hims. The Khalif 'Othman's Kuran is preserved here. 
The city possesses stone walls, which preserve it from being taken 
by surprise ; and so it escaped in our own days when the Greek 
Emperor Nikfur (Nicephorus in A.D. 966 and 968) ravaged the 
coast of Syria." (Is., 61 ; I. H., 116.) 

" Antarsus," says Idrisi, " is a small town on the seaside with 
thronged bazaars ; much merchandise is seen there. The town 


is at the end of a great bay, and above it is a range of mountains. 
This bay measures some 10 miles across. The city has a wall, 
and is very strongly fortified." (Id., 20, 22.) 

11 Antartus (according to Yakut) is the last of the coast towns of 
the Damascus Province. It belonged originally to Hims, and by 
some is said to belong to Tarabulus. It lies east of 'Arkah, and 
8 leagues from it. It possesses two towers that are like castles. 
It was originally conquered by 'Ubaidah ibn As Samit, in A.H. 17 
(638), after the taking of Al Ladhikiyyah and Jabalah. It was 
then demolished, and the place remained uninhabited for some 
years, till the Khalif Mu'awiyyah rebuilt it and fortified it, as he 
also did Marakiyyah and Bulunyas." (Yak., i. 388 ; Mar., i. 98.) 

Dimashki, writing in 1300, says: "In Antarsus is a church 
belonging to the Christians, magnificently built. There is here a 
chapel (bait) which is said to have been the first house built in 
the name of (the Virgin) Mary in Syria. The Khalif Mu'awiyah 
rebuilt and enlarged the city, making it his capital during the days 
of the Khalif 'Othman. He also conquered the Islands of the 
Mediterranean, and made raids on Cyprus and Sicily, and he took 
the Island of Arwad. (See p. 399.) Antarsus was an ancient 
Roman fortress." (Dim., 208.) 

Abu-1 Fida, writing a few years later, adds nothing to the above 
accounts, which he copies. (A. F., 229.) 

'ARABAH. " A place in the Filastin Province." (Yak., iii. 633 ; 
Mar., ii. 246.) 

'ARABAYA. "A place which Bukhtnassar (Nebuchadnezzar) 
attacked with his army." (Yak., iii. 633.) According to the 
Marasid (Mar., ii. 245) it lies in Syria. 

ARAK, OR URAK. "A small town on the border of the Halab 
Desert, near Tadmur (Palmyra) and ; Urd, possessing palms and 
olives. It was conquered by Khalid ibn al Walid." (Yak., i. 210 ; 
Mar., i. 48.) 

'ARANDAL. " The capital of the district of Al Jibal (Gebalene)." 
(Yb., 114.) 

This is the ancient episcopal city of Arindela, which after the 
Arab conquest fell to ruin. It is at present called Gharendel, 
and lies on the Roman road going north from Shaubak or Mont- 


In the thirteenth century, when Yakut wrote, it was only a 
village, in the Sharah Province. It was taken by the Muslims in 
'Omar's days, after the battle of the Yarmuk. (Yak., iii. 657 ; 
Mar., ii. 251.) 

ARAR. " A place in the neighbourhood of Halab. It is the 
name of a Wadi mentioned in the histories of the Muslim con- 
quest." (Yak., i. 181 ; Mar., i. 40.) 

'ARBASUS. "A frontier fortress near Al Massissah. It was 
ruined by Saif ad Daulah ibn Hamdan." (Yak., iii. 633 ; Mar., 
ii. 246.) 

ARBIKH. " A place lying to the west of Halab." (Yak., i. 190 ; 
Mar., i. 42.) 

ARFAD. " A large village in the neighbourhood of the 'Azaz 
District near Halab." (Yak., i. 209 ; Mar., i. 47.) 

ARIHA, OR RIHA (JERICHO). " The capital of the Ghaur (or 
lowland of the Jordan), being, however, counted as in the Balka 
Province.'' (Yb., 113.) 

" Ariha," writes Mukaddasi, " is the City of the Giants (men- 
tioned in the Kuran), and therein is seen the gate of which Allah 
spake to the Children of Israel (Kuran v. 25). There grows in 
these parts much indigo and many palms, and the city possesses 
illages in the Ghaur (of the Jordan), whose fields are watered 
from the springs. The heat in Jericho is excessive. Snakes and 
scorpions are numerous ; also fleas abound. The serpents called 
Tariyakiyyah come from hence, from the flesh of which, used 
therein, depends the excellence of the Tariyak (Theriack or Anti- 
dote) of Jerusalem. The people are brown-skinned and swarthy. 
On the other hand, the water of Jericho is held to be the lightest 
and best in all Islam. Bananas are plentiful, also dates and 
flowers of fragrant odour." (Muk., 175.) On the subject of the 
Theriack see above, p. 17. 

'Ali of Herat says that "at Riha is the Tomb of Moses." 
(Oxford MS., folio 26.) 

" Riha," says Yakut, "lies 5 leagues, or a day's ride, from 
Jerusalem, in the Ghaur of the Jordan Province. It is called 
Ariha also, and is the City of the Giants (mentioned in the 
Kuran). It has many palm-trees, also sugar-canes in quantities, 


and bananas. The best of all the sugar of the Ghaur land is 
made here. The city is named after Ariha ibn Malik ibn 
Arfakshad ibn Sam (Shem) ibn Nuh (Noah)." (Yak., i. 227 
ii. 884 ; Mar., i. 52, 496.) 

"Ariha, or Riha,' 1 writes Abu-1 Fida, "is a village of the Ghaur, 
and is * the Village of the Giants ' mentioned in the Books 
of the Jews. It was the first place conquered by Joshua. 
It lies 4 miles west of the Jordan, at the place where the 
Christians say the Messiah was baptized. Near here there are 
some mines of sulphur, the only ones in Palestine. Near Jericho 
they grow the plant called ' Wasmah,' from which they obtain the 
Nil (or indigo). Jericho lies 12 miles east of [erusalem." (A. F., 

On the elision of the Y in Hebrew names that have gone over 
into Arabic see Clermont-Ganneau, Journal Asiatiquc, 1877, 
i. 498. Other instances given are: Hebrew Yezreel (Jezreel), 
modern Zarin ; Hebrew Yesimoth (in Beth Jesimoth), modern 
Sueimeh, and thus Yericho (Jericho) becomes the Arab Ariha, or 

Jericho to Jerusalem (Is., I. H.), i march, or (Muk., Id.) 2 
stages; to Zughar (Is., I. H., Id.), 2 days, or (other MSS.) i 
day; to Ar Ramlah (Muk.), i march; to Nabulus (Muk.), i 
march ; to Bait ar Ram (Muk.), 2 stages. 

AL 'ARISH (RHINOCOLURA). "A city that originally had two 
Mosques," says Idrisi in 1154, "but the sand has invaded them, 
and all the land round about. There are here many vegetable 
gardens, and fine fruits are grown. The town lies close to the 
sea." (Id, 4.) 

"ArArish," says Yakut, "is the first town in Egypt on the 
Syrian side. It has been pillaged by the Franks, and nothing 
remains but some ruins in the midst of the sands." (Yak., iii. 
660; Mar., ii. 253.) 

'ARjAMtis. " A village in the Bika'ah (Ccelo-Syria), near Ba'al- 
bakk. They say there is here the Tomb of Hablah the daughter 
of Noah." (Yak., iii. 637 ; Mar., ii. 246.) 

'ARKAH, OR '!RKAH (ARCA, OR ARCADOS). "A district of 
the Damascus Province on the sea-coast. There is here an ancient 


city, inhabited by a population brought hither from Persia." 
(Yb., 114.) 

'"Arkah," says Mukaddasi, " is a place lying some way from the 
sea." (Muk., 160.) 

The Persian traveller Nasir visited 'Arkah, and writes that in 
his day (1047) tne city stood 2 leagues from the sea. (N. 
Kh., 6.) 

A few years later Idrisi reports of 'Arkah, that it is " a fine and 
populous city lying at the foot of the hills, which are here not 
very high. In the midst of the town is a castle on a height ; and 
there is a large suburb. The place is very populous, and full of 
merchandise. Its people are rich. The drinking-water comes by 
an aqueduct that takes its origin from the river, which never runs 
dry, flowing close to the city. There are many gardens with fruit- 
trees and sugar-canes, and there are mills on the river afore- 
mentioned. The town lies 3 miles from the sea-coast. Its fort is 
large, the food of the people is abundant and cheap. The houses 
are built of mortar and clay, and most of them are large.'' 
(Id., 13.) 

" 'Arkah," says Abu-1 Fida, " is a small town, possessing a 
small castle ; it has gardens, and a small river. Muhallabi, the 
geographer, counts it as of the dependencies of Damascus, being 
the furthest north of these along the coast. 'Arkah lies 12 miles 
south of Tarabulus. From 'Arkah, going east to Ba'albakk, is 66 
miles. The town lies about a league from the sea-coast." (A. F., 


Yakut pronounces the name ; Irkah, and states that the town 
lies 4 leagues east of Tarabulus on the flank of a hill about i mile 
from the sea. " On this hill is a castle. Abu Bakr Al Hamadani 
counts it as belonging to the 'Awasim Province. It lies between 
Rafaniyyah and Tarabulus. It is the furthest (town north) in the 
Damascus Province. It was ruined and plundered by Saif ad 
Daulah." (Yak., iii. 653 ; Mar., ii. 250.) 

'Arkah, or 'Irkah, is the ancient Phoenician city of the Arkites 
mentioned in Genesis x. 17. In Crusading Chronicles it is called 
Area, Arcados, or Archis. In Byzantine times the place was 
known as Csesarea of the Lebanon. 


ARMANAZ. "An ancient and small town, distant from Halab 
about 5 leagues. They make here pots and drinking-vessels, red 
in colour, and very sweet to smell. Armanaz, they say, is also 
the name of another town, near Sur (Tyre), on the Syrian coast." 
(Yak., i. 217; Mar., i. 49.) 

'ARRABAH. " A place in the province of 'Akkah (Acre), on the 
Syrian coast." (Yak., iii. 627 ; Mar., ii. 244.) 

" A village in the district of Halab (Aleppo), belonging to Al 
Jazr." (Yak., iii. 640; Mar., ii. 247.) 

ARSF (APOLLONIA). "Arsuf," says Mukaddasi, "is smaller 
than Yafah, but is strongly fortified and populous. There is here 
a beautiful pulpit, made in the first instance for the Mosque of 
Ar Ramlah, but which being found too small, was given to 
Arsuf." (Muk., 174.) 

"Arsuf, or Ursuf," Yakut writes in 1225, "remained in 
Muslim hands till taken by Kund Furi (Godfrey de Bouillon) 
lord of Jerusalem, in the year 494 (noi), and it is in the hands 
of the Franks at the present day. It lies between Caesarea and 
Jaffa" (Yak., i. 207 ; v. 12 ; Mar., i. 46.) 

Abu-1 Fida in 1321 writes that "Arsuf, in Filastin, was a 
populous town, having a castle. It lies on the coast of the Greek 
Sea, 12 miles from Ar Ramlah, 6 miles from Yafa, and 18 from 
Kaisariyyah. It has a market, and was surrounded by a wall ; 
but at the present day the town is in ruins, and there are no 
inhabitants." (A. F., 239.) Arsuf is the Apollonia of the Greeks, 
which the Crusaders mistook for Antipatris 

Arsuf to Ar Ramlah (Muk.), i march; to Kaisariyyah (Muk.), 
i march. 

ARTAH. "An impregnable fortress in the district of Halab 
(Aleppo). It belonged to the 'Awasim Province, and many 
learned men were natives of it." (Yak., i. 190 ; Mar., i. 42.) 

ARWAD (RUAD, ARADUS) " The Island of Arwad," writes 
Idrisi in 1154, " is in the sea, near Antarsus. On this island is a 
magnificent church, finely and solidly built, very high and im- 
pregnable, having doors of iron ; so that it is like a guard- 


On the margin of the Oxford MS. of Idrisi (Cod. Bibl. Bod., 
No. 887), written at the" end of the fifteenth century, is the follow- 
ing note : " The city of Arwad lies on an island opposite the 
town of Marakiyyah, which stands on the. sea-shore, and between 
Marakiyyah and the island is about two bow-shots. This island 
was taken from out of the hands of the Franks, in the days of 
(the Mamluk Sultan) An Nasir ibn Kala'un. At the present day 
there are no inhabitants, and it is the same as regards the city of 
Marakiyyah, the people of which have removed to the mountain 
for fear of the Frankish soldiers. The place is empty and 
deserted, though the houses and other buildings are still standing 
down to the present time, as likewise the sugar presses, which are 
built outside the town towards the east." (Id. 20.) 

ARZI)NA. "One of the villages of Damascus." (Yak., i. 206 ; 
Mar., i. 46.) 

AsrfRAH. "A village of Halab (Aleppo)." (Yak., i. 251 ; 
Mar., i. 61.) 

ASF^NA. " The name of a fortress which existed near Ma'arrah 
an Nu'man, in Syria. It was taken and dismantled by Muhammad 
ibn Nasr ibn Salih ibn Mirdas al Kilabi." (Yak., i. 249 ; Mar., 
i. 60.) 

ASHMUNITH. " The name of a spring outside Halab (Aleppo), 
and to the south. It waters the gardens of the city, and its over- 
flow goes into the river Kuwaik." (Yak., i. 283 ; Mar., i. 69.) 

'ASHTARA ('ASHTAROTH OF EDREi). A place in the Hauran, 
belonging to the Damascus Province." (Yak., iii. 679; Mar., 
ii. 259.) 

This represents the Biblical Ashtaroth of Deut. i. 4, etc. 

'ASKALAN (ASCALON).* -" In Ibn Zubair's day," said Bilad- 
huri, " the Greeks raided and destroyed 'Askalan and its Mosque. 
The Khalif 'Abd al Malik rebuilt the city, fortified it, and rebuilt 
the Mosque also." (Bil., 143.) 

The city is mentioned by Yakubi as "a town of Palestine on the 
sea coast. (Yb., 117.) 

The Mosque built, or rebuilt, by 'Abd al Malik, was subsequently 

* Spelt in Arabic with the (guttural) initial 'Ain. In Hebrew Ashkalon 
is with an initial Aleph. See above p. 381. 

'ASK A LAN. 401 

restored by the Abbaside Khalif Al Mahdi, in 772 (155 A.H.), three 
years befoiv he mounted the throne on the death of his father Al 
Mansfir. The inscription set up by Al Mahdi has been discovered 
by M. Clermont-Ganneau. As given in \\\Q Journal Asiatique for 
1887, vol. ix., p. 485, it may be translated as follows : 

" Al Mahdi) the Commander of the Faithful, hath ordered the 
building of this minaret and of this mosque, at the hands of Al 
Mufartdal ibn Sallam, and Jahur ibn Hisham, in the month of 
Muharram, in the year 155." 

Mukaddasi, writing in 985, says : " 'Askalan on the sea is a fine 
city, and strongly garrisoned. Fruit is here in plenty, especially 
that of the sycamore tree, of which all free to eat. The great 
mosque stands in the market of the clothes-merchants, and is 
paved throughout with marble. The city is spacious, opulent, 
healthy, and well fortified. The silkworms of this place are re- 
nowned, its wares are excellent, and life there is pleasant. Also, 
its markets are thronged, and its garrison alert. Only its harbour 
is unsafe, its waters brackish, and the sand- fly, called Dalam, is 
most hurtful." (Muk., 174.) The Dalam sand-fly, be it noted, is 
still a well-known pest of the coast country of Syria. 

The Persian traveller, Nasir, visited Ascalon in 1047. He 
writes : "The bazaar and the mosque are both fine, and I saw 
here an arch, which they told me was ancient, and had been part 
of a mosque. The arch was built of such mighty stones, that 
should any desire to throw it down, he would spend much money 
before he could accomplish it." (N. Kh., 61.) 

In 1 1 oo Ascalon fell into the hands of the Crusaders, but was 
afterwards re-taken by the Fatimites. In 1154 Idrisi writes : 

" 'Askalan is a fine town, with a double wall, and there are 
markets. Without the town there are no gardens, and nought is 
there in the way of trees. The Governor of the Holy City,* with 
a Greek army of the Franks and others, conquered it in the year 
548 (1153), and at the present day it is in their hands. 'Askalan 
is counted as included in the Filastin Province. 'Askalan, Arsuf, 
and Yafa, are all towns of the coast of Palestine. The three are 
of about the same size and note, being well fortified and very 

* King Baldwin III. 



populous. Olives and vines are grown here in plenty." (Id., 
5 and u.) 

'Ali of Herat notes that " between Bait Jibrin and ' Askalan is 
the Valley of the Ant, where, according to tradition, Solomon 
spoke with these insects." (See Kuran xxvii. 17, 18.) '"Askalan," 
he continues, " is a fine and beautiful city. There is near here 
the Well of Abraham, which they say he dug with his own hand ; but 
of the truth of this Allah knows best." (A. H. Oxf. MS., folio 46.) 

'"Askalan," writes Yakut, "was conquered by the Franks in 
548 (1153), and reconquered in 583 (1187) by Saladin, after 35 
years had elapsed." According to the same authority, 'Askalan 
means Aid ar Ads, ' the Summit of the Head,' that is, the Summit 
of Syria. " The city is also named 'Arus ash >/idw, the Bride of 
Syria." (Yak., iii. 673 ; Mar., ii. 258.) 

Richard of Cornwall, King Richard Cceur de Lion's nephew, 
attempted in 1240 to restore the walls of Ascalon, but failed, and 
Sultan Baibars dismantled the city in 1270, since which period it 
has remained in ruins. 

Abu-1 Fida in the fourteenth century writes : " 'Askalan, in 
Filastin, is a town where there are ancient remains. It lies on the 
sea coast. Between it and Ghazzah the distance is about three 
leagues. It is one of the fortresses of Islam in Syria. Muhallabi 
says 'Askalan stands by the sea-shore on an elevation, and is one 
of the finest of the coast towns. It has no harbour. Its inhabi- 
tants drink well-water, which is sweet (not brackish). Between it 
and Ghazzah the distance is 10 miles, and between it and Ar 
Ramlah 18 miles. At the present day it is in ruins, and there are 
no inhabitants." (A. F., 231.) 

The dismantled city was visited by the traveller Ibn Batutah in 
I 355) wno speaks of it as " a total ruin, though formerly a beautiful 
place. The head of Husain (the grandson of the Prophet), 
which was here, is now in Cairo. It used to be kept in the beauti- 
ful mosque at 'Askalan, built by one of the Fatimite Khalifs, as 
the inscription over the gate still shows. To the south of this 
building is a large mosque, called the Mosque of 'Omar, of which 
nothing now remains but its walls ; in it are many fine marble 
columns, some standing and some fallen down. To the south of 


'Askalan are the Wells of Abraham. You descend to them by 
broad steps leading to a chamber. On all four sides of this 
chamber are springs of water gushing out from stone conduits. 
The water is sweet, but is not very abundant. The people tell 
many stories about these springs. Outside 'Askalan is the Wadi 
of the Ant." (I. B., i. 126.) 

'Askalan to Ar Ramlah (Is., I. H., Muk., Id.), i march; to 
Gha/./.ah (Is., I. H.), less than T march, or (Id.) 20 miles ; to 
Yafa (Muk.), i march ; to Rafh (Muk.), i march ; to Mimas, 
going west (Id.), 20 miles. 

'ASKAR AZ ZAITUN. "A place in the neighbourhood of 
Nabulus, in the Filastin Province." (Yak., iii. 675 ; Mar., ii. 258.) 
'ASSAN. " A village lying about a league from Halab (Aleppo). 
It has a mosque." (Yak., iii. 671 ; Mar., ii. 257.) 

WADI AL ASTIL. "We traversed this," writes Ibn Jubair, "on 
the road between Hitnin and Tibnin. It is a valley clothed with 
trees, the greater number of which were of the kind called Rand 
(laurels or myrtles). This wadi is very deep, and is like a fosse. 
It is called Al Astil, and no army could traverse it by force. It is 
very wonderful to see. Thence we marched, bearing to our left, 
and reached Tibnin (Le Toron)." (I. J., 304.) 

'ATHAM. "A place in Syria mentioned by the poets." (Yak., 
iii. 686 ; Mar., ii. 263.) 

castle about three leagues from Halab (Aleppo), and between it 
and Antioch. The name is the plural form of Tharb, meaning 
' Sheep-fat.' It is at present in ruins, and near it is the village 
called by the same name." (Yak., i. 114 ; Mar., i. 21 ; A. F., 231.) 
Al Atharib to Halab (Is., I. H., Yak., Muk.), i day ; to Antak- 
iyyah (Is., I. H.), 2 days. 

'ATH!R. " A place in Syria." (Yak., iii.6i7 ; Mar. ii. 238.) 
'ATHLITH (CHATEAU PELERIN). "A fortress on the coast of 
the Syrian Sea, called also Hisn al Ahmar (the Red Fort). It 
was retaken (from the Crusaders) by Saladin in A.H. 583 (1187)." 
(Yak., i. 156; iii. 616; Mar., i. 32; ii. 237.) Called Castellum 
Peregrinorum and Petra Incisa in Crusading chronicles ; it was 
the great stronghold of the Templars. 



ARD 'A'iiKAH ('AxiKAH's LAND). " Outside the gate called 
Bab al Jabiyah at Damascus. It is called after 'Atikah, daughter 
of the Khalif Yazid ibn Mu'awiyah, who had a castle there. She 
was the wife of the Khalif 'Abd al Malik ibn Marwan, and mother 
of the Khalif Yazid ibn 'Abd al Malik. The Khalif 'Abd al Malik 
died at this castle." (Yak., i. 208 ; Mar., i. 47.) 

AL ATMIM. " A place in the Province of Hims." (Yb., 1 12.) 

AL ATRUN. " A town near Ramlah in the Filastin Province." 
(Yak., i. 310; Mar., i. 75.) This is doubtless the Castrum Boni 
Latronis of the Crusades. Nasir-i-Khusrau (N. Kh., 22) also 
mentions it. 

AUDAN. "A large village standing under a hill between 
Mar'ash and the Euphrates." (Yak., i. 399 ; Mar., i. 101.) 

AL AULAJ. "A place in Syria." (Yak., i. 407 ; Mar., i. 104.) 
Probably a variation in spelling of Aulas. 

AULAS, OR AULASH (ELEUSA). " A fortress on the sea-shore. 
The people here are extremely pious, and are stringently given to 
the works of Allah. It is the last place on the Greek Sea belong- 
ing to the Muslims, and near here the enemy are always en- 
countered." (Is., 64; I. H., 163.) 

"Hisn Aulash," says Idrisi, "lies on the sea, 12 miles from Tarsus, 
of which it is the port. It is an impregnable fortress." (Id., 25, 27.) 

" Aulas, or Aulash, is a fortress on the coast near Tarsus ; within 
it is a fort called Hisn az Zuhad (the Anchorites' Fort)." (Yak., i. 
407 ; Mar., i. 104.) 

From Aulas by the sea to Tarsus (Is., I. H.), 2 days, or (Id.) 
1 2 miles. 

AL AUZA. " A village at the gates of Damascus, near the Bab 
al Faradis. Al Auza' was originally the name of a tribe in Yaman, 
and the village was called after these people, for they migrated 
and settled here." (Yak., i. 403.) 

'AWARTA. "A village, or small town, on the road from 
Nabulus to Jerusalem. There are here the tombs of Yusha' 
(Joshua) ibn NCm, and Mufaddal, the son of Aaron's uncle. 
These lie in a cave, where also are buried seventy prophets." 
(A. H., Oxf. MS., folio 34, where, however, the name of the village 
is left blank. Copied by Yak., iii. 745 ; Mar., ii. 289.) 


'Aw IK. " A village in Syria, or else the name of a spring lying 
between Tadmur (Palmyra) and Halab." (Yak., i. 748 ; Mar. 
ii. 290.) 

AY As. Abu-1 Fida in the fourteenth century speaks of it as ' k a 
large city of Armenia, on the sea-coast, possessing a fine port, 
which is the harbour for those parts. In order to defend it, the 
Franks have recently built a tower (burf) like a castle, close to 
this, in the sea. From Ayas to Baghras is two days' march, 
and from Ayas to Tall Hamdun is about one march. Since the 
Muslims have retaken the coast towns, such as Tarabulus, 'Akka, 
and the rest, from the Franks, these last more rarely come into 
Syria, by reason of the harbours being in the hands of the True 
Believers. The Franks now go rather to Ayas, because it is still 
in the hands of the Christians, and thus it has become a celebrated 
harbour, and a great emporium for the merchants both by sea and 
by land." (A. F., 249.) 


near Jerusalem. There is here the tomb of Al 'Azar (Lazarus), 
whom 'isa (Jesus) brought to life from being dead" (Yak., iii. 
586, 752 ; Mar., ii. 226, 292.) 

'AzAz, OR A'ZAZ. " A town with a castle and lands, standing 
to the north, and a day's journey from Halab (Aleppo). It has a 
good climate and sweet water. There are no scorpions here, or 
other reptiles ; and earth from this place put on a scorpion kills 
it." (Yak., iii. 667 ; Mar., ii. 255.) 

" A'zaz," says Abu-1 Fida, " is the name of a celebrated fortress, 
and also of its territory. It lies south and somewhat west of 
Halab. It is extremely fertile, excellent and beautiful, and is one 
of the pleasantest of places. Its soil is red. They grow much 
cotton (Kutan) here, which is taken by ships to Sibtah (Ceuta), 
and other cities of the West. The place is made green by the 
masses of pistachio trees found here." (A. F., 231.) 

town." (Yak., iv. 1018 ; Mar., iii. 340.) 

Azdud, or Yazdud, to Ar Ramlah (Is., I. H., Muk., Id.), i 
march, or (I. Kh.) 12 miles; to Ghazzah (Muk., Is., I. H., Id.), 
i march, or (I. Kh.) 20 miles ; to Ubnah (Is., I. H.), i march. 


AL AZRAK (THE BLUE RIVER). "A watering-place on the 
Hajj route before reaching Taima." (Yak., i. 232 ; Mar., 

i- 54-) 

" Al Azrak," says Abu-1 Fida, " is the name of a fortress (Hisn) 
built by Al Malik al Mu'adhdham at the edge of the desert 
through which goes the road to the Hijjaz. To the right from 
thence leads the road to Al 'Ula and Tabuk, while to the left is 
that to Taima and Khaibar. Busra lies north of Al Azrak." 
(A. F, 229.) 

BA'ADHIN. U A village of Halab (Aleppo)." (Yak., i. 671; 
Mar., i. 161.) 

AL BAB (THE GATE), AND AL BUZA'AH. Ibn Jubair states in 
his Diary that Buza'ah lies six hours distant from Manbij, and 
half a night's journey from Dahwah. " It is smaller than a town, 
and larger than a village. There is a good market here. Above 
it is a strong castle. Water is in plenty, and gardens are all 
around. Near the bed of the Wadi is a large village called Al 
Bab that is, ' the Gate ' between Buza'ah and Aleppo. Its 
population eight years ago were of the Ismailian sect." (I. J., 


" Al Bab," according to Yakut, " is a small town beside the 
Wadi Butnan in the Halab district. It is called also Bab Buza'ah. 
There are markets here, and they make quantities of cotton stuffs 
called Kirbas, which are exported to Egypt and Damascus. 
Buza'ah, or Biza'ah, for it is pronounced either way by the people 
of Aleppo, is a town belonging, some say, to Halab in the Wadi 
Butnan. It is a day's march from Halab, and the like from 
Manbij. There is running water, also many springs, and a fine 
market." (Yak., i. 437, 603 ; Mar., i. in, 150.) 

" Al Bab and Buza'ah," writes Dimashki, " are two towns, 
between them lying the Wadi Butnan. Along this runs a river 
called As Sajur, which comes down from 'Ain Tab." (Dim., 

According to Abu-1 Fida, "Al Bab is a small town with a 
market, a bath, and a Friday Mosque, also many pleasant gardens ; 
while Buza'ah is a small domain belonging to Al Bab, outside of 
which lies the (Mash-had) shrine and tomb of 'Akil ibn Abi Talib 


(brother of the Khulif 'Ali). It lies a day's march north-east of 
Halab." (A. F., 267.) 

BARILLA " A village lying about a mile outside Halab ; which 
at the present day is very populous." (Yak., i. 446 ; Mar., i. 113.) 

BADAMA.--"A village belonging to Halab, in the neighbour- 
hood of 'Azaz. It is mentioned in the Traditions (Hadif/i) in 
connection with Adam." (Yak., i. 459; Mar., i. 116.) 

BADHANDN (PODENDON). "A village of the Thughur (or 
Frontier Fortresses), a day's march from 'Tarsus. Al Mamun died 
there in the year 218 (833), and was buried at Tarsus, near the 
Bab Badhandun, in the wall of that city." (Yak., i. 530 ; Mar., 

i- I35-) 

AL BAIM'AH. " A spring near Hisma, and Hisma is a moun- 
tain in Syria/' (Yak., i. 527 ; Mar., i. 134.) 

AL BADIYYAH. " A spring two marches from Halab (Aleppo), 
on the road to Salamiyyah." (Yak., i. 527 ; Mar., i. 134.) 

BAGHRAS (PAGR^E). " A town where there is a Friday Mosque. 
It lies on the road of the Frontier Fortresses, called Ath Thughur. 
The almshouse here was instituted by Zubaidah (the wife of 
Harun ar Rashid), and there is no other in all Syria that is as 
large." (Is., 65 ; I. II., 163 ; copied by A. F., 259.) 

Idrisi speaks of the place as " Hisn Baghras (the Fort of 
Baghras), where there is a Friday Mosque, and a great population. 
It lies on the road to the Frontier Fortresses." (Id , 27.) 

" Baghraz, or Baghras," says Yakut, " stands on the flank of the 
Jabal al Lukkam, 4 leagues from Antakiyyah, on the right of one 
who goes from Aleppo to Antioch. This part of the country 
overhangs the province round Tarsus. It was of old in the hands 
of the Franks, but Saladin conquered it in 584(1188)." (Yak., 
i. 693 ; Mar., i. 163.) 

" Baghras," says Abu-1 Fida, " in the Kinnasrin Province, pos- 
sesses a high castle. There are springs and valleys round it, and 
gardens. Murallabi says from Baghras to Antakiyyah is 12 miles, 
and from Baghras to Iskandarunah is 12 miles also. It stands 
on the mountain that overlooks the 'Amk of Harim. Harim lies 
to the east of it, and 2 marches away. Baghras lies south, and 
about a march from Darbassak." (A. F., 259.) 


Ibn Batutah, who visited the spot in 1355, speaks of Baghras, 
near Antioch, as a strong castle, with gardens and fields all 
round it, lying on the road to Sis, in Little Armenia. (I. B., 
i. 163.) 

Baghras to Antakiyyah (Is., I. H.) i day, or (Id.) 12 miles ; to 
Iskandarunah (Id.) 9 miles. 

BAHASITHA. " A large quarter lying to the north of Halab 
(Aleppo). Its people are Sunnis." (Yak., i. 458; Mar., i. 

BAHASNA (BEHESDIN). " A strong fortress near Mar'ash and 
Sumaisat. It stands on the summit of a mountain. Rustak 
Kaisum is of its dependencies. At the present day it belongs to 
the Halab Province." (Yak., i. 770 ; Mar., i. 183.) 

" Bahasna," says Abu-1 Fida, " is a strong, high-built castle, with 
gardens, and a small river, also a market ; and excellent farms 
belong to it. It has a Friday Mosque, and there are broad 
and fertile lands all round. It lies about six days from Si was, and 
is one of the most impregnable of castles. It lies about two days' 
march north-west of 'Ain Tab." (A. F., 265.) 

BAiRfrr (BERYTUS). " Bairut at the present day," writes 
Ya'kubi, in 891, " is entirely peopled by Persians, brought here 
and settled by the Khalif Mu'awiyah." (Yb., 1 14.) 
. Istakhri and Ibn Haukal write : " Bairut, in the Damascus 
Province, is not far from Tripoli. Al 'Auza'i* (the Traditionist) 
lived here. Bairut has many palm-trees and sugar-canes and plen- 
teous crops. The commerce of the sea comes here, and its roads 
are never infested nor stopped. The town is well fortified, and 
has fruitful lands round it. The walls are strong, and prices here 
are moderate. The population are God-fearing and peaceful in 
their ways, although they can also defend themselves well against 
an enemy." (Is., 65 ; I. H., 116.) 

Mukaddasi merely mentions Bairut as "a fortified city on the 
sea." (Muk., 160.) 

The Persian traveller, Nasir-i-Khusrau, visited Bairut in 1047, 
and writes in his Diary : 

" From Jubail we came on to Bairut. Here I saw an arch of 
* For his life see Ibn Khallikan, De Slane's translation, ii. 84. 

BAIRUT. 409 

stone, so great, that the roadway went out through it ; and the 
height of the arch I estimated at 50 ells.* The side walls of the 
arch are built of white stone, and each block must be over 
1,000 manns (or about i tons) in weight. The main build- 
ing is of unburnt brick, built up a score of ells high. Along 
the top of the same are set marble columns, each column 8f ells 
tall, and so thick that with difficulty could two men with their 
arms outstretched embrace the circumference. Above these 
columns they have built arcades, both to right and to left, all of 
stones exactly fitted, and constructed without mortar or cement. 
The great centre arch rises up between, and towers above the 
arcades by a height of 50 cubits. The blocks of stone that are 
used in the construction of these arches, according to my estimate, 
were each 8 cubits high, and 4 cubits across, and by conjecture 
each must weigh some 7,000 manns (or about 10 tons). Every 
one of these stones is beautifully fashioned and sculptured after a 
manner that is rarely accomplished, even in (soft) wood. Except, 
this arch no other (ancient) building remains. I inquired in the 
neighbourhood what might have been the purpose thereof; to 
which the people answered that, as they had heard tell, this was 
the gate of Pharaoh's garden ; also that it was extremely ancient. 
All the plain around this spot is covered with marble columns, 
with their capitals and shafts. These were all of marble, and 
chiselled, round, square, hexagonal, or octagonal ; and all in such 
extremely hard stone, that an iron tool can make no impression 
thereon. Now, in all the country round there is apparently no 
mountain or quarry from which this stone can have been brought ; 
and, again, there is another kind of stone that has an appearance 
of being artificial,* and, like the first stone, this, too, is not work- 
able with iron. In various parts of Syria there may be seen some 
five hundred thousand columns, or capitals and shafts of columns, 

* This may have been the remains of one of the baths or theatres with 
which Herod Agrippa embellished Uerytus ; or, possibly, it is the ruins of the 
celebrated college. 

t The British Museum MS. may read " twenty ells," but this is doubtless 
a clerical error. 

t Referring, doubtless, to basalt or granite, of which ancient columns are 
frequently found. 


of which no one knows either the maker, nor can say for what 
purpose they were first hewn, or whence they were brought." 
(N. Kh, 9.) 

"Bairut," as Idrisi reports, ''lies on the shore of the sea. It is 
protected by great and broad stone walls. In the neighbourhood, 
and belonging to it, is an iron mine, of very good metal, and easy 
to work. They extract from this, ore in quantity, and send it to 
all parts of Syria. Bairut also has a grove of Snobur-pine ; these 
lie on its southern side, and extend as far as the Lebanon moun- 
tains. This grove may be estimated at some 12 miles square. 
The people of Bairut drink from well-water." (Id., 16.) 

" Bairut," says Yakut, " lies 3 leagues from Sidon, and belongs 
to the Damascus Province. It remained in the hands of the 
Muslims in best of condition. Baghdawin (King Baldwin) the 
Frank, who conquered Jerusalem came against it and laid siege 
to it, taking the city by storm on the Friday, 2ist of the month 
Shawwal, 503 (mo). It remained in the hands of the Christians 
until Saladin retrieved it from them in the year 583 (1187). 
(Yak., i. 785 ; Mar., i. 188.) 

Abu-1 Fida in the fourteenth century says : 

" Bairut lies on the coast of Damascus. It possesses two 
towers (burj\ and has gardens, and a river. The lands round 
are very fertile. Al 'Auza'i, the Jurisconsult, lived here. It is the 
port of Damascus. From Bairut to Ba'albakk, over the 'Akabah 
al Mughithah (the Pass of Succour),, is 36 miles. Between the 
two lies the town of Arjamush, 24 miles from Bairut. Bairut is a 
beautiful town. Water is brought to it by an underground 
channel." (A. F., 247.) 

Ibn Batutah passed through Bairut in 1355. He speaks of it 
as " a small town with fine buildings, excellent bazaars and a 
Mosque. They export fruit and iron thence to Egypt." (I. B., 

i- I33-) 

Bairut to Damascus (Is., I. H., Muk., Id.), 2 days; (Yak.), 3 
days ; to Tarabulus (Is., I. H., Muk.), i day ; to Saida (Muk ), i 
march; to Hisn an Na'imah (Id.), 24 miles; to Hisn al Maz- 
dasiyyah, or Al Muradisiyyah (Id.), 8 miles. 


B A IS AN. 411 

dasi, " lies on the Jordan. It abounds in palm-trees, and from 
this place comes all the rice consumed in the provinces of the 
Jordan and of Palestine. Water is here abundant, and easily 
obtained ; but for drinking purposes its water is deemed 
heavy of digestion. The Mosque stands in the market place, 
and many men of piety make their home in this town." (Mtik., 

" Baisan," writes Idrisi, " is but a small place, but it has many 
palms. And there grows here the Saman (reed) of which they 
make the Samani mats. This reed is not found anywhere else 
except here, and nowhere else in Syria is there any reed to equal 
it" (Id, 12.) 

Yakut writes of Baisan, " that it is a town of the Jordan 
Province in the Ghaur. They call it Lisan al Ard> the Tongue of 
the Earth. It lies between the Hauran and the Filastin Provinces. 
Near it is the 'Ain al Fulus (the Spring of the copper coin, called 
Fals, Obolus), which is of paradise, though its waters are a little 
salt. This spring is mentioned in the Hadith (or Traditions of the 
Prophet). Baisan suffers from the pest, and is very hot. The 
inhabitants are brown-skinned and woolly-haired by reason of the 
heat of its climate. Baisan was celebrated for the number of its 
palms, but I, Yakut, who have been there many times (thirteenth 
century), never saw more than two palm-trees here, and these of 
the kind that give dates one year and no more. This they say is 
a sign of the coming of the Antichrist Ad Dajjal." (Yak., i. 788 ; 
Mar., i. 189.) It is noteworthy that there are no palm-trees seen 
in Baisan at the present day, neither is the rice, for which it was 
formerly celebrated, any longer cultivated here. 

" Baisan," says Abu-1 Fida, " in the Jordan Province is a small 
town, without walls, but possessing gardens, and streams, and 
springs. It lies on the west of the Ghaur, and is very fertile. 
Among its other streams is a small one coming from a spring 
which runs through the town. Baisan lies 18 miles from 
Tabariyyah, and is to the south of it.' (A. F., 243.) 

Baisan to Tabariyyah (Is., I.H.), short 2 marches, or days, or 
(Id.) part of day, or (Muk.) i march ; to Ta'asir (Muk.), 2 stages ; 
to Nabulus (Muk.), i march. 


district of the Ghautah of Damascus ; there are many other 
villages in its neighbourhood." (Yak., i. 775 ; Mar., i. 185.) 

being between Damascus and the coast. They say it is the place 
where Jacob passed the days of his lamentation when he was 
separated from Joseph. It was rebuilt by the Franks, and they 
made of it a great fortress. Saladin took it in 575 (1179) and 
destroyed it." (Yak., i. 775 ; Mar., i. 185.) 

BAIT ARANIS. " One of the villages of the Ghautah of 
Damascus. Near it is the tomb of Abu Marthad Dithar ibn al 
Husain, one of the Companions of the Prophet." (Yak., i. 775 ; 
Mar., i. 185.) 

BAIT AL BALAT. " A village in the Ghautah (district round) 
Damascus." (Yak., i. 708, 776; Mar., i. 168, 185.) 

BAIT JANN. " A village between Darayyah and Baniyas, lying 
among the hills. We travelled," says Ibn Jubair, "thence to 
Baniyas, and half way on the road thither we passed an oak-tree 
(Baliif] of great size of trunk, with spreading branches, which they 
informed us was called the Tree of the Balance (Shajarat al 
Maizan}. When we inquired the reason, we were told this oak 
marked the limit between safety and danger on this road. This 
is by reason of the brigandage of the Franks ; for on the one side 
they seize on everybody they find, while on the other travellers 
are safe from them.'' (I. J., 303.) 

GABRA, ELEUTHEROPOLIS). " An ancient city of Palestine." 
(Yb., 117.) 

" Bait Jibril," said Mukaddasi, " is a city partly in the hill 
country, partly in the plain. Its territory has the name of Ad 
Darum (the ancient Darorna and the modern Dairan), and there 
are here marble quarries. The district sends its produce to the 
capital (Ar Ramlah). It is the emporium for the neighbouring 
country, and a land of riches and plenty, possessing fine domains. 
The population, however, is now on the decrease, and impotence 
has possession of many of its men." (Muk., 174.) 

"Bait Jibrin, or Jibril," says Yakut, "lies between Jerusalem 


and 'Askalan, or Ghazzah, being 2 marches from Jerusalem, and 
less from Ghax/ah. There was here a fortified castle which 
Saladin destroyed when he took it from the Franks. Between 
Bait Jibrin and 'Askalan is a valley called Wadi an Naml (the 
Valley of the Ant), where Solomon spoke with these insects (see 
above, p. 402)." (Yak., i. 776; Mar., i. 185.) 

" At the time of the first conquest by the Arabs, under 'Amr 
ibn al 'As, that chief had at Bait Jibrin a domain, called 'Ajlan, 
after one of his freedmen." (Yak., ii. 19.) 

Bait Jibril to Ar Ramlah (Muk.), i march ; to Jerusalem 
(Muk.), i march; to Ghaxzah (Muk.), i march. 

BAIT KftFA. "A village of Damascus.'' (Yak., i. 779 ; Mar., i. 

BAIT LAHA. " A fortress high up on the Jabal Lailun, between 
Antakiyyah and Halab (Aleppo). There was stationed here a 
warder who watched, in the beginning of the day, the road 
towards Antioch, and at the end of it towards Aleppo." (Yak., i. 
779; Mar., i. 187.) 

BAIT LIHYA. " Bait Lihya," says 'Ali of Herat, " or more 
correctly Bait Alihah (the House of Gods), is a village of Damas- 
cus, where Abraham broke to pieces the idols of his father."* 
(A. H., Oxf. MS., folio 1 80.) 

" Bait Lahiyyah, or Lihya," Ibn Jubair writes in his Diary, 
" lies east of Damascus, on the right of the road to Maulid 
Ibrahim (the Birth-place of Abraham). It is more properly Bait 
al Alihah, the ' House of Idols.' In ancient times there was a 
church here, which is now a mosque. It was of old the temple 
where the father of Abraham made his idols and kept them. But 
Abraham came and broke them to pieces. The temple is now the 
mosque of the inhabitants, and its roof is beautifully ornamented 
with mosaic of coloured marbles." (I. J., 279.) 

Yakut gives the following account of the Idol Temple at Bait 
Lihya, which he says is a celebrated village in the Ghautah, out- 
side the gates of Damascus : " It is more properly Bait Alihah 
(the Idol House). They say that Azar, the father of Abraham, 

* For the Muslim tradition of Abraham and his breaking of his father's 
idols, see G. Weil, fiibiische Legetidcn der Miuelnidnncr, p. 70. 


' the Friend,' had carved idols, and had set them before Abraham 
that he should pay homage to them. But Abraham took a stone 
and broke them in pieces ; and this stone is at the present day 
shown at Damascus (see p. 256), and from it is called the Darb a I 
Hajar, ' Street of the Stone,' in that city. Now I (Yakut) say, the 
truth is that Abraham was born at Babil (Babylon), and it was 
there that Azar made his idols. Also in the Thaurah (Pentateuch) 
it is written that Azar died in Harran, for he left 'Irak (Babylonia) 
and went to Harran, and remained there till he died, and it is 
not stated that he ever came to Syria ; but Allah knows best the 
truth of all this." (Yak., i. 780 ; also iv. 371, where the name is 
given under Lihya; Mar., i. 187, iii. 231.) 

"Bait Ilahiyyah," so the name is spelt by Ibn Batutah, "is a 
village lying to the east of Damascus. There was here a church, 
where Azar (father of Abraham) used to carve idols. These 
Abraham broke to pieces. There is now a fine Jami' Mosque 
here, beautifully ornamented with mosaics and coloured marbles, 
very wonderful to see." (I. B., i. 237.) 

Bait Lihya is not marked on the map. Ibn Batutah states that 
the village lies to the east of Damascus, and all authorities 
mention it as a well-known place in the Ghutah, so well known, in 
fact, that they unfortunately omit to indicate its exact position. 
No mention of the place is to be found in the works of Burton, 
Porter, and other travellers. Robinson mentions a village called 
Beit Lehya (Researches, vol. iii., 1852, notes to pp. 426, 428), lying 
west of Rasheyah, which in Badeker (Syria, p. 452) is called Bet 
Laya. But this, if Ibn Batutah's indication of the position east of 
Damascus for Bait Lihya is to be credited, can hardly be the 
same place, for Rasheyah lies west of the Ghutah, under the spurs 
of Mount Hermon. 

BAIT LIHYA (2) "Near Ghazzah, of the like name to the 
above. It is a village with many fruit-trees." (Mar. in Yak., v. 15.) 

BAIT MAMA. " One of the villages of Nabulus in the Filastin 
Province. Its people were Samaritans, and the poll-tax on every 
man of them was 10 Dinars ($)', but they complained of it to 
the (Khalif) Al Mutawakkil, and he reduced it to 3 Dinars." 
(Yak., i. 781 ; Mar., i. 187.) 

HA IT M.IMJX. H.lKl .1 ITS. 415 

BAIT MAMIN. "A village of Ar Ramlah." (Yak., i. 781; 
Mar., i. 187.) 

P. AIT NUBA. "A small town in the neighbourhood of Filastin 
(Ar Kamluh)." (Yak., i. 781 ; Mar., i. 187.) This village, lying 
half-way between Jerusalem and Ramlah, has been identified with 
the Nob of i Samuel xxi. i. 

BAIT RAMAH, OR BAIT AR RAM.--" A celebrated village lying 
between the Balka Province and the Ghaur (of the Jordan)." 
(Yak., i. 777 ; Mar., i. 186.) 

Bait Ar Ram to Ariha (Jericho) (NTuk.), 2 stages; to 'Amman 
(Muk.), i march. 

BAIT RAs (i). " A village of Jerusalem, or, it is said, belonging 
to the Jordan Province. There are quantities of vines here, from 
which the celebrated wine is made." (Yak., i. 776 ; Mar., i. 186.) 

BAIT RAs (2). "A village near Halab (Aleppo). Here also 
vines are in plenty, and wine is called from the name of this place." 

BAIT SABA. " An Iklim (or district) of Bait al Abar, near 
Jarmanis (of Damascus)." (Yak., i. 778; Mar., i. 186.) 

BAIT SAR'A. Mentioned by Mukaddasi as lying i march distant 
from Damascus. (Muk., 190.) 

BAIT SAW A. "A village of Damascus." (Yak., i. 778; Mar., 
i. 1 86.) 

BAJJ HAURAN. "One of the districts of Damascus; also the 
name of a village at the gate of Damascus, in (the district of) 
Iklim Bands." (Yak., i. 496; Mar., i. 127.) 

BAK'A AL 'Ais, AND BAK'A RABI'AH. "Two Kurahs (districts) 
of Manbij. They lie near the Nahr (river) as Sajur." (Yak., 
i. 701 ; Mar., i. 166.) 

BAKARHA. " A village belonging to Halab (Aleppo)." (Mar. 
in Yak., v. 14.) 

BAKIDIN. Mentioned in the Diary of Ibn Jubair as lying south 
of Kinnasrin. The caravan rested at the Khan at Turkman. 
" All the Khans on the road between Halab and Hamah," says 
Ibn Jubair, " are like fortified castles with iron gates, and very 
strongly built." (I. J., 256.) 

BAKTATIS. " A village of Hims." (Yak., i. 700; Mar., i. 165.) 


BALADAH. " A town on the coast of Syria, near Jabalah. After 
its conquest by 'Ubadah ibn as Samit the place fell to ruin, and 
the inhabitants were carried to other places. The Khalif 
Mu'awiyah used the materials of the old city for rebuilding Jabalah. 
It w r as anciently a fortress of the Greeks, as mentioned by Bila- 
dhuri." (Yak., i. 718; Mar., i. 170.) 

BALAS. "A town lying 10 miles from Damascus." (Yak., 
i. 708 ; Mar., i. 168.) 

BAL'AS. "One of the districts of Hims." (Yak., i. 712 ; Mar., 
i. 171.) 

AL BALAT. "An ancient town lying between Mar'ash and 
Antakiyyah. It is now in ruins. The district is watered by the 
Nahr al Aswad, and belongs to Halab. Al Balat is the chief 
town of the Kurah of Al Huwwar." (Yak., i. 709 ; Mar., 
i. 168.) 

BALATAH. " A village of the Nabulus District in FilasHn. The 
Jews say that it was here that Nimrud (Nimrod) ibn Kan'an 
threw Abraham into the fire ; the learned, however, say this took 
place at Babil (Babylon), in 'Irak and Allah alone knows the 
truth. There is here the spring called 'Ain al Khidr. Yusuf 
(Joseph) as Sadik peace be on him ! was buried here, and his 
tomb is well known, lying under the tree." (Yak., i. 710 ; Mar., 
i. 168.)